Aguilera to star in multimillion Virgin Mobile ad campaign

LONDON - 'Dirrty' singer Christina Aguilera is to front Virgin Mobile's 'sexiest ever advert', in a multimillion-pound deal that will continue the mobile brand's music star-led advertising strategy and will include a post-watershed commercial.

Richard Branson has been personally courting the star, known for her raunchy pop videos, and according to reports invited her to Necker, his private island, in an attempt to seal the deal.

The 23-year-old pop star has agreed to follow rap star Busta Rhymes and former Fugee Wyclef Jean on the continuing "The Devil makes work for idle thumbs" series of ads. In her raunchiest video, 'Dirrty', the singer caused controversy by dancing provocatively, wearing only a pair of leather chaps, a g-string and a bikini top.

The ad, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, is being shot in Los Angeles and is being directed by the award-winning Bryan Buckley, the former agency creative who co-founded Hungryman in 1997 and directed the Orange cinema commercials starring Carrie Fisher and Spike Lee. He will direct the shoot and produce two versions of the ad, with one destined for post-watershed broadcast. Media buying is through Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Details of the ad are being kept secret by the Virgin Mobile team but a source said: "This red-hot advert will blast off the sex-o-meter scale. We're expecting something very raunchy. She doesn't do choirgirl so the anticipation is sky-high."

Aguilera will film the commercial before her US tour kicks off at the beginning of May and the ad campaign will be on air by the middle of the month.

The singer, who first shot to stardom with her single 'Genie in a Bottle', also has an 18-month agreement with Sketchers footwear, which runs out in December.

The Scottish Executive has also drafted in the star to support its domestic abuse campaign in June. Aguilera, whose song 'OK' draws on her own experience of living with a violent father, has pledged a signed copy of the lyrics to the regional government in Edinburgh.

Virgin Mobile has a long-running strategy of associating itself with music. Branson's phone venture has just confirmed that it is to sponsor the V music festival for the ninth year running. Previous Virgin Mobile advertising drives have also starred R&B singer Kelis and former All Saint Melanie Blatt.

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