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Pepsi's 'Halftime Game' Ad Honoring HBCU BandsWill Be Featured During SWAC Championship Game

Pepsi's “The Halftime Game” ad will bring the excitement of storied HBCU band culture during the SWAC Championship game between Prairie View and Jackson State.

In New Orleans, I grew up in an HBCU family that loved music and marching bands. The marching bands of Southern, Grambling, Tennessee State, Jackson State, and Florida A&M were my favorites and we emulated their marching styles, sounds, showmanship, and techniques. 

My cousin was a drum major, my brother was a fantastic musician, and I later became one of the drum majors known as the "Tenacious Four" from McDonogh #35 Senior High School.  Our illustrious band director, Lloyd Harris, Jr. had a blueprint each week for a halftime show to stir the crowd and motivate the football team

It didn't matter if you were in junior high or high school and your football team was great on the field or not — your marching band had to "BRING IT" at halftime, every week. For us, the marching band gave us respect, pride, and bragging rights for another year.

We called it the "HALFTIME SHOW!"   

The band director, drum majors, marching band members, majorettes, dancers, flag twirlers, and pep squad all worked in unison to entertain the audience with a showcase of talent, skill, and "funk!"  

On Saturday, Pepsi will feature its “The Halftime Game” ad in honor of the excitement storied HBCU band culture during the SWAC Championship game between Prairie View and Jackson State.



Pepsi - a brand known for working with some of the biggest names in sports and music - is shining a spotlight on a different on-field skill with its first ever ad featuring two of the most celebrated HBCU bands. The 60-second spot, titled “The Halftime Game” will bring the excitement of storied HBCU band culture during one of the biggest football games of the season, airing on ESPN 2 during this weekend’s much anticipated Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship game.

Directed by HBCU alum Alan Ferguson in partnership with Creators League, the Pepsi in-house studio led by Lou Arbetter, the first-of-its-kind ad features two top ranking HBCU marching bands, Florida A&M University (FAMU) “Marching 100” and Jackson State University (JSU) “Sonic Boom of the South,” highlighting the electricity and history they bring to gameday. Pepsi is investing over $3 million behind the ad, set to run across SWAC media, including on ABC during December’s Celebration BOWL, as well as on national media outlets throughout the end of the month.

Halftime 2

"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.”

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This is the latest step in PepsiCo’s long term commitment to HBCUs and fostering Black talent, which includes a partnership with JSU Coach Deion Sanders, multi-year partnerships with the National Battle of The Bands and as the primary beverage sponsor of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the "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, the MTN DEW Real Change Fund, which awards HBCU Students $1 million dollars to fund startups, and more.

"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. “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,” said 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.”

This all ladders up to the brand’s larger Racial Equality Journey, which in 2020 saw the company announce commitments of more than $570 million over the next five years to elevate diverse voices within the company, supply chain partners, and communities, while helping to address issues of inequality and create opportunity.


SWAC Championship Game - December 4, 2021

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands. For more information, visit

About Jackson State University

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, healthcare, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in metropolitan Jackson, Jackson State is located near downtown, with five satellite locations throughout the area. For more information, visit or call 601-979-2121.