Students, alumni, family, and friends affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are aware of how talented their school’s bands are. And in a new commercial, Pepsi hopes to inform the rest of the world. The ad is set to air on ESPN 2 on Saturday (Dec. 4) during the broadcast of the anticipated Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship football game between Prairie View A&M and Jackson State University.
Jackson State’s “Sonic Boom of the South” stars in the commercial alongside the Florida A&M University “Marching 100.” HBCU alum Alan Ferguson directed the commercial in partnership with Creators League. Pepsi is investing over $3 million behind the ad set to air during the aforementioned matchup as well as on ABC during Celebration Bowl set to air Dec. 18 and various national media outlets throughout the end of the month.
Both JSU and FAMU’s bands are known throughout the HBCU community for their showmanship, style, and innovation.
“It is an esteemed honor to have been selected to participate in a nationally televised commercial with Pepsi,” said Dr. Roderick Little, JSU Director of Bands in a press statement. “Of course this is an outstanding opportunity for our students, band and university, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge what this affiliation means for all HBCU band programs regarding exposure that could garner the support of future donors and corporate sponsors. The future is bright for HBCU band programs because of great opportunities such as these!”
“This ad campaign provides a fitting showcase for two exceptional music programs,” added Dr. Shelby Chipman, FAMU Director of Bands. “Our marching band students are committed to excellence in the classroom and performing on the field. This campaign celebrates their dedication and talent. Fans of the incomparable Marching ‘100’ will be pleased. It was an amazing experience for our students to work with the production team during their visit to our campus.”
The commercial is an extension of Pepsi’s efforts to support HBCUs and foster Black talent. The company also has a partnership with JSU Football Coach Deion Sanders, as well as multi-year sponsorship deals with the National Battle of The Bands and SWAC. There’s also Pepsi’s “She Got Now” Allen McKellar Jr. Internship Program for HBCU female students, a $100,000 donation that made it possible for Hampton University’s marching band to perform in its first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the MTN DEW Real Change Fund that awards HBCU Students $1 million dollars to fund startups.
“At PepsiCo, we’ve committed to supporting HBCUs year-round and I’m honored to help shine a light on these marching bands with this new spot airing during one of the largest games of the season,” said Chauncey Hamlett, CMO/VP of PBNA, South Division. “We wanted to spotlight these two incredible bands because we know that in HBCU culture, the game is not just about football, but also the energy, hype, and history these bands bring to halftime and beyond.”
Watch the bands of Florida A&M University and Jackson State University star in the 60-second Pepsi commercial below.