''Angel'' viewers will get a commercial break from bloodsucking when Christina Aguilera's new Coca-Cola ad makes its world premiere during the May 15 episode. Pop fans have been waiting since March to see if Aguilera's cola campaign will best that of her rival Britney Spears, whose Pepsi plug debuted during the Oscar broadcast.
The Spears ad, which features a creepy cameo from former presidential candidate Bob Dole, has received a less than bubbly reception. Not only was the commercial overshadowed by the revelation that the ''Oops, I Did It Again'' chanteuse demanded her tour dressing room be stocked with Coke, but polls hosted by AOL and other websites showed that up to 81 percent of respondents preferred the as yet unseen ad by Aguilera to Spears' sexy song and dance themed spot. Ouch.
But comparing the two may not be so easy, since Aguilera's ad eschews Spears' boogie woogie routine for light comedy. The spot follows a male fan's visit to the set of Aguilera's latest music video, a prize that will actually be available to viewers as part of Coke's ''Pop the Top'' summer contest. Every time the singer approaches her skittish admirer to say hi, the poor guy passes out cold. Still, by the end of the commercial he comes to the conclusion that Aguilera might be in love with him.
''This shows how accessible and approachable Christina is,'' says Coca-Cola spokesman Mart Martin, who notes that a few shots of Aguilera rehearsing for her music video will be the extent of her performance in the clip. Martin claims that the decision to let Aguilera act instead of warble a jingle à la Spears had nothing to do with the competition's poorly received spot, though he admits that he's ''just thrilled'' that Aguilera has scored so well in the Britney vs. Christina polls. ''We're not looking to see what the other guy is doing,'' he says, pointing out that Aguilera shot a performance themed ad for her Latin America Coke spot more than a year ago. ''We came out with something fresh and funny, not a reaction to our competitors' advertising.''
Whether Aguilera, who dyed her hair a Coke appropriate white and red for the video, will do another commercial for the soft drink is still undecided, though the Pop the Top promotion runs until July 31. But the company is likely to want more ads. ''She's a genuine talent, a lifelong Coca-Cola drinker, and we've had a relationship with her for more than a year now,'' says Martin. ''Coke has always been about being real, and we believe Christina's real, too.'' As long as you don't count that ''Lady Marmalade'' 'fro she wore to the Blockbuster Awards.