Pepsi Gives Away Downloads

By Brian Garrity and Melinda Newman

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – Pepsi has a new affiliation with a hot, rising music star. But this time, Apple Computer’s iTunes is shoving aside the likes of Britney Spears (news) and Beyonce.

The soft-drink giant plans to give away 100 million downloads from iTunes next year and plug the service in a Super Bowl commercial.

The relationship between Pepsi and Apple — the brainchild of Interscope chief executive Jimmy Iovine — is an effort to drive consumer interest in the iTunes service, which is now available for Windows-based computers.

The offer kicks off Feb. 1 with the Super Bowl ad, and it will run until March 31. Apple famously introduced its Macintosh (news – web sites) computer with a Super Bowl ad in 1984.

Special codes that can be used to redeem a free track through iTunes will be contained in bottle caps of 20-ounce and 1-liter bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist.

In all, 300 million Pepsi bottles will be wrapped with special iTunes packaging. Only 100 million bottles will contain redeemable codes.

“This historic promotion to legally give away 100 million free songs will go down in history as igniting the legal download market,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs (news – web sites) said in a statement.

Pepsi reportedly will pay Apple for each of the songs downloaded during the promotion.

The deal is the latest move by Pepsi to use music to help craft its brand image.

The company currently sponsors the program “Pepsi Smash” on the WB TV network — a weekly show that features performances from popular recording artists.

Last year, Pepsi entered a broad-based marketing alliance with Sony Music Entertainment to promote its artists.