Pepsi Meets The Diversity Challenge

Facing South, a blog from the Institute of Southern Studies in Durham, NC, points to a book by Wall Street Journal editor Stephanie Capparell.
According to the book’s publisher, The Real Pepsi Challenge: The Inspirational Story of Breaking the Color Barrier in American Business, is at once “a straightforward business book about the birth of niche marketing” and “a key chapter in the social history of our nation.”
The book describes how Pepsi’s charismatic and socially progressive CEO Walter Mack, introduced black sales executives to his company at a time when none existed.
In 1947, Mack hired Edward Boyd, a former executive of the National Urban League, to develop a program to increase Pepsi sales to African-Americans. Boyd’s team of 10 African-Americans traveled the country telling the Pepsi story of equality.
WUNC created a segment on the book and local firm, NC Mutual Life (one of America’s oldest black-owned companies), that was moved by Boyd’s team to replace all of its Coke machines with Pepsi machines.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.