Labels are for cans and jars, not people. That is the message in a nutshell that Coca-Cola is trying to convey with a new ad campaign seen in this link. It was uploaded to the YouTube channel Coca-Cola Middle East on July 4th and it’s already being welcomed as a creative, eye opening way to expand people’s minds and get them thinking about prejudice. The video says that it takes just seven seconds to judge a person and form a prejudice towards them based off how they look and their appearance. We are all guilty of doing this and if your thinking ‘not me’ then think again.
We all have labels. I am an employee, a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, a driver, a friend, and a committee member...just to name a few! Personally I feel lucky; at this point in my life I have more positive labels than negative ones. But negative labels were once very big in my life. They still are for many people.
Many people have a picture in their mind about how other people should act and behave. When someone doesn't match that picture, they are made fun of, disrespected, and even bullied. I know you know.
People don't realize how much damage their words and actions can cause. They don't realize how much it hurts.
To give a punch in the stomach the popular beverage company invited six complete strangers to an Iftar in the dark during this month of Ramadan.
An iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan. The six men sat at a round table and each took a turn to briefly describe themselves. They all spoke of their interests, hobbies, and passions in life. After each person said their part the others would make remarks about what they thought of the speaker, who he probably was, and what he looked like. Then the lights were turned on and their faces were revealed to one another. Every single man expressed shock and disbelief at who they were looking at versus who they assumed they were sitting among. The stereotypes and labels they had blindly placed on one another turned out to be completely unfounded and false. It goes to show that human prejudice stems from blind ignorance and all the assumptions, stereotypes, and labels we use on others is often unfair and judgmental.
At the very end the men were asked to reach under their chairs and take out a box. When they opened it two cans of Coke lay nestled inside. The cans appeared free of any logos and no “Coca-Cola” was scrawled across the side. However, when turned over the message “Labels are for cans not for people” was written in white font on the red can. The simple message makes a clear impact and hopefully it will make a positive difference in the world.
We need to take this problem head-on. Some people don't like change but we need to challenge them to look at themselves and what they believe. We must come up with ways to improve the lives of people so that they are welcomed and included in schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. If we don't, what label will we have?
I think this video's projects are terrific. We still have a long way to go living together on this planet as brothers and sisters. I hope they show this all over the world and people finally get it!
Sources: Coca-Cola Middle East, Sun Gazing
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