Edward Boyd, 1914-2007

Pepsi Ad 1940sImage courtesy of Wikipedia.

This week's New York Times Magazine includes its annual look at people who have died in the last year. One most people may not have heard of is Edward Boyd, who was responsible for marketing Pepsi to African Americans in the 1950s. He pushed for the use of professionals and ordinary African American families in ads, as opposed to just athletes and entertainers. It's an early example of how important media representation is to our identity: as the article's author, Rob Walker, puts it, "Perhaps the world depicted in advertising, then and now, was a fantasy, but part of Boyd's thinking seems to be that it's a fantasy that black consumers wanted to be part of — and would respond to. "

You can read the whole article here. Also in the same issue, obituaries of the inventor of the remote control and the first of the Phone Phreaks.