Christina follows in Britney's steps with Skechers deal

LONDON - Christina Aguilera is touring the world with Britney Spears' ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake and is now to endorse Britney's former sponsor, the footwear brand Skechers.

Aguilera, who sang the hits 'Genie in a Bottle' and 'Dirrrty', has signed an 18-month agreement to appear in international print media for footwear as well as in point-of-purchase displays. The campaign will break in October this year and runs through to December 2004.

The singer, who is more famous for wearing leather chaps than sportswear, will promote all of Skechers' women's lines and will appear solo in advertisements as well as with male models, who will sport men's Skechers gear.

She follows in the footsteps of Spears, who was signed to promote Skechers in 2000 -- a deal that increased sales of Skechers by 50%, according to the company.

Larry Remington, president of Skechers' international division, said the company had had great success with celebrity endorsements, especially pop stars.

"We believe signing Christina Aguilera, a beautiful and talented singer with a top 10 hit in many international countries, is going to further increase our brand recognition in Europe, Asia, Latin America and other regions around the world."

Skechers, which are sold in more than 100 countries, has also used the actor Matt Dillon in international advertising.

Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have long been pop rivals, ever since they appeared together on the 'Mickey Mouse Club' on Disney in the US as kids. They both launched solo careers around the same time, with Britney embracing a squeaky clean image and a boyfriend in the form of Justin Timberlake, who sang with N'Sync, from whom she has since split.

"I agreed to be part of Skechers' international marketing team because I like its image -- youthful but edgy. They have attitude and are willing to try new ideas -- refreshing," Aguilera said.

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