PepsiCo is in talks with the Russian space authorities to push its marketing to the final frontier.

The soft drinks giant, trying to outdo rival Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of search-for-a-star hit American Idol, wants to back a reality-TV contest of its own. The prize? No less than a trip to space courtesy of the Soyuz shuttle.

Pepsi is negotiating with the Russians and at least one TV network about the show, which is due to lift off next summer and climax in 2004.

If agreed, the program will take up a fair chunk of PepsiCo’s marketing budget. The seat on the shuttle will alone cost $15 million (€15.6m; £9.8m), with a further $10m–$20m earmarked for promotion.

Flagship beverage Pepsi-Cola will be used to back the project. The $35m budget would represent about one-third of the company’s annual promotional spend.

The plan follows the failed bid to travel on Soyuz by wannabe cosmonaut Lance Bass of US boy band N’Sync. Unfortunately the Russians decided to ditch Bass in favour of cargo after none of the pop star’s sponsors – said to include Pepsi – paid up.

The beverage titan has used the ever-entrepreneurial Russian space program for marketing purposes before, paying them to take a giant Pepsi can into space in 1996.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff