‘So much of culture is influenced by Black and Hispanic people’: How PepsiCo is addressing advertising’s problem with race

It is one of the ad industry’s most uncomfortable truths that although Black people are enjoying greater representation, it remains white people who predominantly profit from their culture. As awareness of racial inequality grows worldwide, some advertisers are grappling with how to develop a more sensitive understanding of race. PepsiCo is no stranger to these criticisms. After all, it owns the Aunt Jemima brand that — until recently — marketed based on racial stereotypes. It is, however, trying to address some of the ways it has profited from the efforts, struggles and success of ethnic minorities, particularly Black and Hispanic people, over the years. Indeed, the business is at the start of a $170 million investment drive over the next five years focusing on three areas: increase Hispanic middle management representation at the business; build a network of Hispanic-owned companies including ad agencies and publishers; and provide access to higher education for Hispanics across America.

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