Jussie Smollett Is New Pepsi Spokesperson, in Major Tie-In with ‘Empire’
Chuck Hodes/ Fox

Pepsi’s new spokesperson is straight from Empire.

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett is the new face of the soda brand, along with his Empire character Jamal Lyon. So, both the real Smollett and Jamal are working with Pepsi. Confusing?

Earlier this season, Pepsi became an official sponsor of Empire for a reported $20 million. If you tuned in to this week’s show, you saw that Pepsi named Jamal (Smollett) “music’s new icon,” and featured him in a commercial. On next week’s episode we’ll see a new Pepsi commercial featuring Smollett singing “Ready to Go,” a song produced by Swizz Beatz, a member of Empire’s all-star music team.

Pepsi has bought into a 3-episode arc on the show so we’ll be seeing a lot more Pepsi references.


The commercial featuring Smollett will begin airing as a standalone after the show’s midseason finale on Dec 2. It was directed by Empire co-creator Lee Daniels who told Entertainment Weekly that he worry about integrating Pepsi into the show in a seamless way.

“First of all, [I thought], ‘How do I do this in an organic way that doesn’t make Empire look like the sell-out?’” he said. “How do I genuinely make that world, and would [fans] really buy it?”

Smollett follows in the footsteps of Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Mary J. Blige who have all been sponsored Pepsi.