Our 2022 Award Of Excellence winner in Branded Entertainment: Individual – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is You Belong Here, a video short by PepsiCo highlighting the story of Adriana Peralta, a deaf employee. PepsiCo’s You Belong Here campaign highlights the contributions of associates living with disabilities and caregivers in a continuing effort to encourage anyone with a disability to voluntarily self-identify year-round. “The whole initiative of ‘You Belong Here’ is full acceptance of an individual,” says Kevin Fitzpatrick, PepsiCo’s Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Compliance Director and driving force behind You Belong Here. Fitzpatrick collaborated with PepsiCo’s Global Content Center of Excellence, Edgar Marmen, You Belong Here Series Director, to help bring these stories to screens. We interviewed Marmen to gain additional insight into how this ambitious project became a reality, and what it meant to have their work honored with a 2022 Communicator Award of Excellence.
Our creative process starts by researching and developing personal stories. We then craft a narrative that will connect with our audience. We conduct pre-interviews that cover both work and non-work situations because life extends beyond 9 to 5. The “You Belong Here” project has evolved over the years; it originally started as a 3-minute explainer video, but has now become a multi-part documentary series that is story-driven. At PepsiCo, our approach is to align high level purpose to ground level action. We aim to convey broad messages through a specific lens. For “You Belong Here”, we really wanted to showcase the human spirit that’s the engine that drives the DEI initiative.
Locations and schedules are always a challenge. Sometimes you don’t know where or when you will be filming until you arrive the day of the shoot. You can find yourself in the middle of a loud bottling facility, or it’s 3:00 am on a loading dock. Despite these difficulties, we try to incorporate these unique elements into the story to make it both interesting and authentic.
The message behind “You Belong Here” is about self-identification. Since its release, there’s been a noticeable rise in people choosing to identify themselves. By promoting self-identification, PepsiCo is working to create a workplace that is diverse and inclusive, where employees feel comfortable being themselves and can bring their unique talents to the table.
This award is a testament to the incredible talent and dedication of the PepsiCo Content Team. It not only recognizes our abilities, but also the powerful impact we make through the stories we share. It’s a truly heart-warming validation of the work we do. A sincere tribute must be given to Kevin Fitzpatrick, PepsiCo’s AA/EEO Compliance Director, who was the driving force behind this project. His unwavering commitment to this initiative sets the standard for what it means to be a truly dedicated partner.