Edward F. Boyd, 92, a former Pepsi ad man who broke color barriers with one of the first corporate marketing campaigns to portray blacks in a positive light, has died.
Mr. Boyd died April 30 in Los Angeles, Pepsico Inc. spokesman Dave DeCecco said in a statement. There were no other details.
Mr. Boyd was working at the National Urban League in New York City in 1947 when what was then the Pepsi-Cola Co. hired him and a team of black salesmen to help the company drive sales among blacks.
PepsiCo CEO and chairwoman Indra Nooyi said it was time to celebrate Mr. Boyd's "amazing life and journey."
As an assistant sales manager, Mr. Boyd created a marketing campaign that showed blacks as respectable, middle-class consumers.
One store display, for example, pictured a smiling mother holding a six-pack of Pepsi-Cola as her young son reached for a bottle. There also were series that profiled 20 black achievers and featured top students at black universities drinking Pepsi.
The promotions differed sharply from the insulting images in many ads at the time.
"We'd been caricatured and stereotyped," Mr. Boyd had said. "The advertisement represented us as normal Americans."
Mr. Boyd and his team visited black colleges, churches and markets throughout the country to promote Pepsi, enduring the daily injustices of racism along the way.
The group rode on segregated trains and was refused service at white-owned hotels. Insults from some colleagues at Pepsi weren't uncommon.
"Jackie Robinson may have made more headlines, but what Ed did - integrating the managerial ranks of corporate America - was equally groundbreaking," Donald M. Kendall, retired chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo, said in a statement.
Born in 1914 in Riverside, Mr. Boyd graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. A trained singer and dancer, he had minor movie roles after college. He worked for the Screen Actors Guild, then government housing programs, before joining the National Urban League in New York.
After Pepsi CEO Walter S. Mack left in 1950, company support for Mr. Boyd's unit waned. Mr. Boyd went on to private and public jobs, including work for an international aid agency, and later raised alpacas in New York.
Mr. Boyd is survived by his wife of 63 years, Edith Jones; daughter Rebecca of New York; and sons Brandon Boyd of New York, Edward Boyd Jr. of Boulder, Colo., and Timothy Boyd of Chicago.
Funeral arrangements were not disclosed.
- Associated Press