MIAMI BEACH, FL: Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's Chief Brand Officer, believes that fighting racial inequality is an urgent priority for the marketing industry - as well as representing a mission of profound personal significance.

Pritchard discussed this subject during a keynote session at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2017 Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

And he reported that America is currently at a “cultural crossroads”, as a divisive sociopolitical environment causes varying forms of prejudice to resurface after decades of apparent progress.

“On the one hand, Blacks and Latinos and Asians – along with people of two or more races – are the fastest-growing segments of the population, and will soon become the majority. They’re growing in economic and political power, with ever-expanding purchasing power,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: P&G’s Pritchard boldly calls on marketers to stand up for racial equality.)

“On the other hand, the forces of prejudice and bigotry are openly coming to the surface again, creating divisiveness and conflict, and threatening progress that has been made for decades.”

P&G has championed racial equality in various marketing efforts. These include a high-profile campaign based around “the talk” that African-American parents have to give their kids about the everyday prejudice they are likely to experience.

Another such initiative saw Tide, the laundry detergent, release an ad during Hispanic Heritage Month two years ago, where various Latino people discussed the labels and racial slurs they had been confronted with in the past.

That campaign “affected me personally, since I’m half-Mexican,” Pritchard revealed. “My father was Mexican-American, but he was adopted by a man with an English name.

“Growing up, I had the ability to move between White and Latino cultures. But when entering the workforce, I suppressed my Mexican heritage, for fear of being labeled, because I had heard these denigrating terms used many times in my life.”

Alongside starting a powerful conversation among consumers, “#WashAwayLabels” thus led Pritchard to tell his own story within P&G’s own four walls.

“I recognized the privilege of being viewed as White, with a name like ‘Pritchard’, and decided to share my personal story and open up a dialogue within our company.

“When leaders step up to talk about tough issues like bias, it gives other people permission and safety to talk, change attitudes, and address bad behavior.”

Sourced from WARC