Friday, April 26, 2013

Trying to Burnish Its Image, Johnson & - Johnson Turns to Emotions

The company’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit recalled more than 280 million packages of over the counter medications like Motrin, children’s Tylenol liquid and Benadryl in 2010, and the same year, its DePuy Orthopedics unit recalled two popular artificial hip replacement models.

About 10,000 lawsuits have been filed involving those artificial hip devices and while a Chicago jury this month rejected claims of wrongdoing by Johnson & Johnson in one suit, another lawsuit in March yielded a less favorable outcome when a Los Angeles jury ordered the company to pay more than $8.3 million in damages to a Montana man.

In the midst of that turmoil — and perhaps to distance itself from the bad press of product recalls and pending litigation — the company on Thursday is introducing its first corporate branding campaign in more than 10 years. The company will announce the campaign, called For All You Love, at its annual shareholder meeting in New Brunswick, N.J.

The cornerstone of the campaign, a 60-second black and white video, begins with a shot of a sleeping baby about to get a gentle kiss from its mother. In the background, a softer, almost childlike version of the Guns N’ Roses song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” plays.

“Love,” says a woman’s voice. “It’s the most powerful thing on the planet.” Happy clips from everyday life — a father bathing with his baby, a grandfather playing piano with his granddaughter and a teacher playing with her students — are seen during the spot, as is the occasional Johnson & Johnson product like Band-Aids and baby shampoo.

“Love is family,” says the voice-over. “Love is the reason you care for the tiny and the fragile.”

The campaign was created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of TBWA Worldwide, a division of the Omnicom Group. It is the first time the agency has worked with Johnson & Johnson.

“This is the chance to reassert this very iconic brand to the world,” said Rob Schwartz, the global creative president of TBWA Worldwide. The creative team at the agency was inspired by a company statement produced in 1943 that highlighted its responsibility to its consumers, employees, communities and stockholders. Mr. Schwartz described the statement as “one of the best corporate documents ever.”

Based on that, the agency created a manifesto about love that will appear in print publications, including The New York Times and People magazine on May 10. Television commercials and digital ads will begin appearing on May 6 during shows like “Modern Family” on ABC, “The Voice” on NBC and “American Idol” on Fox, and on Web sites like The videos feature real people and real relationships, not actors, Mr. Schwartz said. Subsequent videos for the campaign will also focus on the philanthropic work the company supports. The campaign is estimated to cost $20 million to $30 million through the end of the year.

While a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s recalls or the lawsuits it faces, Michael Sneed, the company’s vice president for global corporate affairs, said the goal of the campaign was “to continue to reconnect with all of the people who come into contact with J.& J. in their daily lives.”

A campaign focused on love creates a sense of trust with the brand, said Kapil Bawa, a marketing professor at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York. “Corporate branding tries to instill a sense of trust in the company and for J.& J., given the kind of products it makes, that trust is very, very critical,” Mr. Bawa said.

Mr. Sneed agreed. “I do think people want to understand what’s behind the brand,” he said. “They want to understand what they value.”

Many brand campaigns of late have included a major emotional hook, including a Procter & Gamble campaign from last summer’s Olympics about mothers and their athlete children and a Dove campaign about a forensic sketch artist drawing women based on their own descriptions. “They are trying to humanize the corporate entity,” Mr. Bawa said. “That’s why emotion is so important.”

Emotion was also present at the ad agency table, Mr. Schwartz said. “The smell of the baby powder, the scent of the shampoo, everybody got very emotional just from our meetings,” he said. “This is a very emotional brand, so we’ve got to deliver a very emotional idea.”

Posted via email from Jack's posterous

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