Multinational consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble is a good example of a company that understands the significance and impact of marketing in a diverse marketplace. P&G has a long history of reaching out to consumers from different sociocultural communities. In 1961, the company became one of the first major manufacturers in the United States to air a TV commercial in Spanish aimed at Hispanic consumers on a Spanish-language channel (later known as Univisión).1
After the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was formed in 1965, P&G proactively launched its own affirmative action plans across all its business units. P&G instituted the changes even before the EEOC was fully functional. That same year, P&G also conducted product research with Hispanic consumers in Miami, focusing on the scent used in its Secret deodorant line. This commitment to diversity in business practices has remained strong through the years.
P&G continues to demonstrate how to embrace diversity marketing, not just through actions, but through core beliefs and values. The company debuted its “Widen the Screen” campaign in 2021 during the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards. The commercial has several short episodes developed by a team of Black creators. Its message is intended to challenge stereotypes and negative attitudes toward the Black community. In a special TV interview, influencer and daytime TV celebrity Oprah Winfrey strongly praised the campaign’s creative opportunities, since Black creators account for only 6 percent of all films made.2 These types of initiatives are evidence that P&G remains steadfast in its support of cultural and societal values, as well as expanding marketing’s horizons to be more inclusive.
Diversity in marketing is often shortsightedly thought of as simply featuring people, objects, or situations linked to various cultural or sociodemographic groups in marketing efforts. These are important components, but diversity marketing goes much deeper than that. In a 2021 keynote presentation about advancing diversity in advertising and business, P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard emphasized that the company’s commitment to consumers extends to race, ethnicity, and gender representation equal to the American population.3
Pritchard added that true and complete inclusion calls for having equitable representation throughout the entire business, including up and down the company’s supply chain. This means that even subcontracted agencies, production crews, and media companies that P&G works with reflect the market’s diverse demographics. P&G is a diversity marketing champion because it believes in the accurate representation of all people in advertising and communications, regardless of cultural or social group, to build a better society.
P&G’s value-creating strategies and purposeful actions embody the concepts of this chapter. Marketing in a diverse marketplace is about understanding why and how to meet consumers’ diversity-based needs, while achieving corporate objectives and driving business sustainability at the same time. P&G's campaign “Widen the Screen” invites viewers to widen their perspectives and appreciate the full picture of Black people's lives through a series of diverse everyday situations.