In the season’s spring return on March 22, Pepsi will retreat to the Lyon’s den to give fans a deeper glimpse into their favorite family drama with new and immersive content and real-life experiences including: extended EMPIRE storylines, music and visual content made accessible at their fingertips via mobile or online. The two entities first partnered in 2015 to bring this first-of-its-kind partnership into the season two storyline, blending fiction and reality with lead character Jamal Lyon, played by Jussie Smollett, who becomes Pepsi’s “Next Artist” both on and off screen.
This time, Pepsi is rewarding fans by giving them more of what they crave: addictive EMPIRE stories and stunning music content, all consumable exclusively via Pepsi and EMPIRE platforms. For the first time, Pepsi will introduce three fan-first digital and social extensions which will serve as complementary builds to an on-screen narrative to leave viewers intrigued and excited for future episodes. These extensions include: a nine-episode “EMERGE” social series; the launch of six limited-edition EMPIRE mini-cans showcasing custom artwork created by artist Jon Moody via which fans can use Shazam to unlock behind-the-scenes content; and a first-ever EMPIRE musical tribute entitled When Cookie Met Lucious, feat. Jamal.
Continuing to blend fiction and reality, the multi-platform partnership also includes a cameo appearance on EMPIRE by rising pop songstress Tinashe, who was just announced as Pepsi’s newest Sound Drop artist today. Tinashe is seen working alongside the character Jamal while he develops his musical tribute, a storyline that sparks on EMPIRE and comes to life via social series EMERGE, which also features fellow Sound Drop artist Jidenna and EMPIRE fan-favourites Gabourey Sibide (as A&R executive Becky Williams) and Ta’Rhonda Jones (as Porsha).
“Our continued partnership with the biggest show on television signifies both Pepsi and EMPIRE coming together for another round of creative storytelling,” states Stacy Taffet, Marketing Sr. Director, Pepsi. “It’s giving fans access to the best of both worlds by combining fresh talent and music from our Sound Drop platform and fan-first experiences to really bring the story to life off the screen.”
“FOX is thrilled to partner once again with Pepsi in follow-up to last season’s groundbreaking EMPIRE collaboration that took branded partnerships to a whole new level,” said Bruce Lefkowitz, Executive Vice President of Ad Sales, Fox Networks Group. “As this robust, new multi-platform initiative with Pepsi shows, advertisers can play big with FOX. We bring innovative ideas and real solutions to our partners that create a better, more immersive experience for our viewers – and that deliver real engagement on every platform imaginable.”
“EMERGE” Social Series
Pepsi and FOX will launch the “day in the life” online social series, “EMERGE,” which will debut on EMPIRE’s Facebook and Instagram the day of the series’ spring return followed by weekly installments. EMERGE will continue the story of longtime EMPIRE characters, A&R executive Becky Williams (Gabourey Sibide) and Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones), as they search for the most promising artist to be featured on Jamal’s upcoming musical tribute. “The Sound Drop” from Pepsi will be introduced into the storyline with Sound Drop artists Tinashe and Jidenna, who will play themselves, as a testament to life truly imitating art.
In celebration of this year’s storyline, Pepsi will be releasing limited-edition EMPIRE 7.5 oz. mini-cans which will display unique artwork inspired by the show’s themes by EMPIRE artist Jon Moody. The six limited-edition collectable cans will be available in April. Using Shazam, fans can use their phones to scan the cans’ artwork to unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes footage captured from the set of the musical tribute shoot.
EMPIRE Musical Tribute
Pepsi will close the season three storyline with Jamal’s first-ever musical tribute which will launch in May. The visual representation of the musical tribute, entitled When Cookie Met Lucious, feat. Jamal, will launch at the season’s end in conjunction with its on-screen unveil. Fans will be directed to Shazam during a May episode, allowing them to stream the entire musical tribute via their mobile device. The visual and musical tribute will also feature Jon Moody’s mini-can artwork and songs by character Jamal Lyon, heard throughout season two and three.