After a 10-year hiatus, Johnson & Johnson is back in the brand identity game. A slew of recent recalls, law suits and bad press, have undermined J& J’s relationship with the public and the corporate juggernaut knows it’s time for some damage control. That’s why it is targeting the golden goose of emotional marketing: your family.
Even the most cynical realms of the public can’t resist the emotional pull of the love felt between a mother and her child, a grandfather and his granddaughter, a teacher and her students. It’s “Terms of Endearment” meets Benadryl to the sound of a lobotomized version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N Roses for some dulled edge (or carefully calculated demographic appeal).
Anyone who grew up with Johnson & Johnson products—who didn’t?—has had a positive emotional connection with the brand since we were babies. From the comforting smell of baby powder to shampoo that doesn’t make you cry, we were raised by our moms and Johnson & Johnson products. Don’t underestimate the power of that deeply internalized association. It makes Facebook feel like a total disheveled stranger.
However, the greatest challenge facing Johnson & Johnson may be the scope of its diversity. The brand is everywhere. From the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries to the surgical and biotechnology fields, Johnson & Johnson reaches into our lives in ways that many of us in the public may not even be aware of. That level of brand penetration and consequent brand dilution confuses the public and leaves us a little paranoid. Johnson & Johnson knows that enormous corporate power scares much of the public, and leaves it yearning for the comfort of—yes, of course—the ones we love.