What if Gerri won? A ‘Succession’-themed Jif commercial imagines her success

The world of business truly would have become much sweeter if J. Smith-Cameron’s “Succession” character, Gerri Kellman, had taken over.

On June 4, Jif debuted “The Merger,” a campaign channeling the 19-time Emmy-winning business dramedy. In the video advertising its new Peanut Butter & Chocolate flavored spread, Smith-Cameron plays a version of the beleaguered Waystar Royco employee, except instead of playing right hand to an easily angered billionaire (Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox) on the HBO series, she sits atop the brand’s peanut-buttery throne.

“You hear my voice and say, ‘Wait a minute’ and then I turn around, and it’s like, ‘it’s Gerri!’ without ever calling me Gerri or anything like that,” Smith-Cameron tells TODAY.com over Zoom. “Without putting too fine a point on it, they kind of made this parallel universe where I happen to be the same actress who plays a general counsel on a well-known television show, but this time, I’m the CEO proper, not the interim CEO — and so that was kind of fun.”

In the ad, Smith-Cameron is first heard talking market-speak with a Chocolatey Corp. executive as they both decide on a merger that rocks the snacking world. Several scenes follow, reminding audiences of their favorite “Succession” characters, including a very Tom Wambsgans-like banana executive yelling at his own version of a cousin Greg — named Jeffrey — in the comedic spot.

JIF The Merger (YouTube)
JIF The Merger (YouTube)

“It’s peanut buttery, it’s chocolatey and it’s an endless opportunity that’s going to change society,” says Smith-Cameron’s character to a rousing applause and standing ovation in her own savory version of the show’s Living+ presentation from season 4.

“I haven’t made any commercials in decades, but this was more like working on a short film,” Smith-Cameron says, adding that it was shot in parts and there were some days dedicated to filming scenes she wasn’t even in. “I love the director. I love the crew. I love the stylist and makeup artist. Everything was great.”

Succession ended its run in 2023 after four seasons chock full of pejoratives, backstabbing and quiet luxury, and the cast won the hearts and minds of its fans for their behavior both on and off-screen.

Smith-Cameron, who was nominated twice for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards, says even though the ending of the series was cold as ice, the cast still warmly keeps in touch.

J. Smith-Cameron in
J. Smith-Cameron in

“We really do. I mean, some people it’s easier to stay in touch with, just because people are kind of dispersed all over the globe but we do still have a text thread that’s been there for years,” Smith-Cameron says. “We often get together as much as we can. We’re quite a cozy group actually.”

Smith-Cameron says she’s watched several of her co-stars turns on the theater stage in the time since “Succession” wrapped. She’s seen Sarah Snook ( who played Shiv Roy) star in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Cox (Logan Roy) in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Natalie Gold (Rava Roy) in Appropriate and Peter Friedman (Frank Vernon) in Job.

Smith-Cameron herself will be starring in Juno and the Paycock this fall in London with Mark Rylance.

“I haven’t seen Jeremy’s show yet, but of course I’ll see that,” she says, hinting at Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy) in An Enemy of the People. “And, they better all come see my show.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com