Britney Spears: A Lifetime of Ads
Pepsi’s celebration of their 125th anniversary has led to the remastering of Britney Spears’ “Joy of Cola” ad that originally aired in 2001. Because of this, we’re revisiting a few of her most iconic ads.
With the “Free Britney” movement calling attention to issues surrounding her conservatorship that began in early 2008, her ad career has telling moments of the mixture of hypersexualization and infantilization she has faced that can be used to analyze her situation further. Let’s dive in!
“The Joy of Cola” 2001:
This ad featured Britney’s iconic music and dancing blended with a good bit of humor. Throughout the entire commercial, however, Britney is seen in very provocative attire because her brand as a pop superstar brought a level of desirability to Pepsi they wanted. At only 19, a multi-million-dollar deal with Pepsi had helped place her in superstardom.
“We Will Rock You” 2004:
Set in a Roman Colosseum, this collaboration with P!nk and Beyonce featured the trio dressed as gladiator warriors. This ad is one of her more powerful ones because it is a critique of women being made to fight other women within the industry and defying that standard. It was also one of her final appearances as a Pepsi spokesperson.
“VMA Promos” 2008:
The 2008 MTV VMA’s ad campaign with Russell Brand was questionable. They are in a sound room with a huge CGI elephant representing her mental health, which was a direct PR ploy. Spears looks super uncomfortable during every rendition because he makes highly inappropriate jokes. This is critical because this is after she was put in the conservatorship on February 1, 2008. Her father had complete control of every aspect of her career at this time.
It’s worth noting that Russell Brand has since spoken out in support of the Free Britney Movement while recalling on these promo shoots in 2022, saying she didn’t “own” herself.
The commodification of Britney Spears has helped and harmed her significantly. By analyzing the ads she has been in, we can see her intimate moments played worldwide. Her fame is a lesson for how we can use public relations to protect others from dealing with similar situations and prompt reforms to industry standards. Allowing for empowerment without shame or degradation is crucial to implement to eliminate these issues for good. In the advertising industry, we can see women like Spears routinely placed into dangerous situations for the sake of content creation and brand development, so it is important to make her voice heard. For more content like this, check out our other Meeman 901 blogs!