Spotlight: Pepsi Cola

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Marketer: Pepsi Cola

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London

Britney, Beyonce and Pink overthrow an emperor and push Pepsi in a lavish spot that won't air in the U.S.

For some reason, PepsiCola Co.'s blockbuster commercial "Gladiator" was widely rumored to be breaking on the Super Bowl (where the full three-minute version, at Super Bowl rates of $2.3 million a 30-second spot, could have cost around $14 million).

As not seen on the Super Bowl, the spot opens with Britney Spears, Beyonce and Pink in Rome's Coliseum, looking like fetching gladiator strippers in their iron bikinis and weaponry. Instead of battling to the death, as the evil emperor anticipates as he watches from the VIP box, the three warrior divas throw down their trident and swords and instead start to gyrate and sing "We will rock you."

The bloodthirsty populace packed in the stands stops shouting menacingly and merrily sings along. The music's beat literally rocks the Coliseum so much that the emperor's private stash of Pepsi cans on ice slides into the arena. The emperor, who looks cute as well as evil since he is played by Enrique Iglesias, also tumbles into the arena. The spot ends with a lion appearing behind the emperor and clearly preparing to eat him.

Now running in Europe, the spot won't be seen in the U.S. Is it the anti-war message of using peaceful means to unseat an unpopular ruler? Or is Pepsi still miffed about the time Britney was caught drinking Coca-Cola? "We have different ad strategies overseas," says a Pepsi spokesman.