Pepsico – whose list of celebrity endorsers includes Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue and Turkish singing sensation Tarkan Televetoglu [WAMN: 08-Mar-01] – has added a new name to its portfolio of sponsored athletes, French soccer star Emmanuel Petit.

Petit – a midfielder who helped steer the French national team to victory in the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championships – will be used by Pepsi’s lead international agency CLM/BBDO (Paris) in a number of domestic and international campaigns.

The first of these has already been launched – a billboard campaign running on 10,000 sites and featuring Petit as a ‘baby-football’ (table football) player breaking free from the rotating bars to which the players are attached and scoring a goal.

The ads use Pepsi’s French slogan, ‘Change’ – a suggestion that consumers break with tradition (ie, Coke) and try Pepsi. However, rumours that Petit was chosen due to his apparently ardent desire to change clubs after an unsuccessful spell at Barcelona have not been confirmed.

Petit has signed a two-year contract with the soft drinks giant for an undisclosed fee, and will feature in TV ads and on product packaging in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea. Other footballers on Pepsi’s books include Brazilian centre forward (and fellow Barcelona player) Rivaldo and English midfield maestro David Beckham.

News source: AdAge Global