Social Media has been buzzing with an ad for Pepsi which stars Kendal Jenner. I guess Pepsi was trying to tap into the activist sentiments of many young people so they have Kendal Jenner leaving a photo shoot to join a protest. In this protest, there are black people, white people, and Hispanics and she walks up to a Muslim girl in a hijab and hugs her. Someone hands her a Pepsi and she hands it over to the anti-riot police who happily take the Pepsi and everyone is happy and smiling. If you watch the ad then like me you will be wondering, ‘How did they think that this was a good idea?’
This is probably because the decision to approve that ad I am assuming was made by predominantly white, male executives who thought there is nothing wrong with it because they do not understand the sentiment behind the protests because they have never had to protest. I make this assumption because surely if there was a black person in the room they would have told them that this is going to be very problematic. Especially where she rips off her wig and throws it at a black woman.
We live in a world where social media means that an ad made in the United States has been viewed everywhere in the world. Now the whole world has seen that Pepsi and it will affect their global brand. They will also have to spend a lot of money on damage control and all of this could have been avoided had they just considered having a more diverse team making their decisions.
As human beings, we are predominantly wired to see only our perspective. This is due to the fact that it is the only perspective that we understand fully. It can be difficult to understand another person’s perspective on things if we have not experienced what they have. However, if you took the time to listen to other people you can understand their perspective. This is why diversity is important in the boardroom.
Diversity will help avoid offending people but it can also help foster creativity. Different perspectives and views on the world mean that no two persons will come up with the same idea. By including different people you will end up with very unique ideas that will get you the right kind of attention.
Many people think that the push for diversity is simply an affirmative action thing. Include all the people because the law says so or because that is what is socially acceptable. However, diversity can improve your organization by bringing new ideas. It is better to innovate than to stop doing the same things over and over again. We should, therefore, ensure that people of different tribes, races, social backgrounds, the less abled and different genders are always included.