Top 10 List of News Items Relevant to Multicultural Marketing and Diversity in 2020 | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Top 10 List of News Items Relevant to Multicultural Marketing and Diversity in 2020

November 6, 2020

By Bill Duggan


As we approach the 22nd annual ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, it’s a good time to step back and reflect on news from the past year that is relevant to multicultural marketing and diversity. Here’s my top ten list, in no particular order:

  1. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks become household names. Their deaths shed a spotlight on what many communities, especially the Black community, have been suffering in what they believe is blatant police brutally. These events created a massive wave of protests and ignited a national (even global) debate on race relations, demand for police reform and equal justice and treatment for all. Black Lives Matter becomes a global movement.
  2. Marginalized and minority individuals suffer disproportionally during the COVID-19 crisis. There are deep-seated inequities that affect many communities of color including higher rates of chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, hypertension), lower access to health care, lack of paid sick leave, lack of or inadequate health insurance, income disparities, jobs that don’t allow work from home — any of which could heighten the effects the coronavirus outbreak.
  3. Kamala Harris becomes the first African American woman and first South Asian American woman to become a nominee for Vice President of the United States.
  4. Brands respond. PepsiCo’s subsidiary Quaker Oats announced that it is changing the name of the Aunt Jemima brand and removing her image and logo from packaging. Mars Food is changing the name of Uncle Ben’s to Ben’s Original and the character Uncle Ben will disappear from the brand’s packaging. The Washington Redskins become the Washington Football team. Eskimo Pie becomes Edy’s Pie. Land O’Lakes removed Mia, the Native American woman who has been prominent on its packaging.
  5. The National Basketball Association allows social justice statements that players can optionally have on the back of their jerseys instead of their names. The list of approved social messages includes Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.

    In a similar effort, the NFL formally allows player to kneel in silent protest during the National anthem.
  6. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued new rules for the Oscars to support diversity. Best Picture category competitors must comply with the majority of the following in order to qualify for consideration: one main actor from an underrepresented racial or ethnic, casting at least 30 percent of minor actors from underrepresented groups, telling a story that focuses on such groups coupled with off-screen criteria such as hiring or training certain personnel from underrepresented groups, having multiple senior executives from underrepresented groups working in their marketing, distribution or publicity divisions. These rules are scheduled to be implemented with the 2024 Academy Awards.
  7. American Girl's 2020 Girl of the Year doll is Joss Kendrick. In a first, this American Girl doll has hearing loss and wears a hearing aid. Joss is a competitive cheerleader and surfer from Southern California who was born deaf in her left ear, but still retains some hearing ability in her right ear with the help of a hearing aid, which comes as an accessory.
  8. Goldman Sachs Group, Wall Street's biggest underwriter of initial public offerings in the U.S., announced that they will no longer take a company public in the U.S. and Europe if it lacks a director who is either female or diverse.
  9. 2020 is a Census year. A major ad campaign kicked off in January. Something big happened: what is normally a standard data-focused mission, did not take place without controversy as the government tried to add a citizenship question. Critics argued that the question would lead to millions of people (mostly Latinos and Blacks) not being counted. The Supreme Court disallowed the question. Responses were collected through October 15 and the U.S. Census Bureau is now in the process of tabulating the results.
  10. According to the New York Public Library its most checked out book of all time is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The story — about an African American boy named Peter enjoying a snowfall — is "one of the earliest examples of diversity in children's books," the library said.

Finally, in a story that stands on its own, the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing released its Commitment to Equality, Inclusion, & Systemic Change, a pledge to hold ourselves accountable for promises made to rid our industry of systemic racism and institutional bias. The pledge has seven areas of focus to be addressed to provide equity to all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, age, or culture.

I collected these news items over the course of the past ten months and they’ve made me think and reflect — I hope they provide some value to you as well. See you at the ANA’s 22nd annual Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference virtually on November 17-18.

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