Many companies have implemented diverse and inclusive marketing campaigns to better reach a contemporary and racially diverse audience. Airbnb, Cheerios and Nike successfully created campaigns doing just that.
However, featuring people of color or LGBTQ members doesn’t always equate to diversity.
Last week, Pepsi debuted its “Jump In” commercial featuring Kendall Jenner that was pulled within 24 hours after its online release.
The commercial received criticism for its insensitivity and trivialization of protests. For a non-specified protest, participants in the commercial hold signs such as “Join the Conversation” and “Love” in different languages and march until they are met with a line of police officers.
Though the commercial features a crowd of young, diverse protesters, Pepsi misses the mark by assuming their definition of diversity and their understanding of protests is in-line with the diverse communities they’re trying to represent.
On Marketingweek.com, Fern Miller, chief strategy officer at DigitasLBI stated, “If you get involved with the protest movement in your ad then you need to really engage with these people on the front line and try to understand the nuances of what they are doing.”
Pepsi isn’t alone, Dropbox faced criticism last year for tweeting “Diversity at Dropbox” with an image of a predominantly white staff featuring one Asian woman.
Companies like Pepsi and Dropbox aim for diversity and equality campaigns but miss the mark. To create a successful campaign like what Airbnb, Cheerios and Nike did, it boils down to creating authentic content that recognizes efforts to create change without trivializing.
Reach out to members of marginalized communities. Discuss with employees what they find and don’t find inclusive about a company. Run and develop campaigns and programs with a diversity consultant.
Pulling insight and perspective directly from diverse communities is key to accomplishing a diversity-based campaign.