Aug 9, 2007

File This Under "What Were They Thinking?"

Front page of today's NY Times Business section has this article about how Johnson & Johnson is suing the American Red Cross for copyright infringement over the use of the aforementioned red cross.

Seems the ARC is selling first aid kits and other tchotchkes with their name and logo on them and J&J is all bent out of shape.

And I'm reading this thinking WTF? Why don't you go and run TV spots* showing your CEO kicking puppies and kittens to death? It would have a less deleterious effect.

I mean absolutely no good can come out of this for J&J. Even if they're in the right about the red cross logo, you're not going to convince America about that. People like the Red Cross. And suing a popular charitable organization over something so blatantly trivial?


To make matters worse, the Times reports that the head of the American Red Cross is "clearly outraged" about the lawsuit. Which means lots and lots of bad publiciity raining down on J&J.


UPDATE: Check out the comments on AdFreak in defense of J&J and up in arms about the assault on J&J's cherished brand. Am I the only one who doesn't think these comments are random?

*And yes I know, for less money they could then post longer versions on YouTube and maybe even set up a website ;)


HighJive said...

Kiley wrote on the topic at the little-viewed Businessweek marketing blog.

I suspect the pro-J&J comments are being posted by J&J employees. Nobody else really gives a shit. At least not enough to defend J&J with any amount of passion.

Shanx said...

No. Pro J&J comments are not only being posted by J&J employees. Get a clue. You sound like one of those cultic Linux fanatics, or the people who feel oh-so-empowered because they now have a blog.

I do not work for J&J, but follow their company and their business practices quite regularly and with great respect. J&J was quite aware of the potential downsides of going forth with the decision, as were the management. Don't think for a moment from your little armchairs that J&J's lawyers are so antagonistic that they started with a litigation right away. Common business practice and courtesy would have made sure that Red Cross was informed and requested to stop mis-appropriating a tangible business asset of another company, and I bet J&J must have done so. It is a pharmaceutical company, and they have to be doubly cautious, egregiously cautious, unabidingly cautious, about how their name is tinkered with -- whether it is by a pseudo-charitable organization or not.

People ignorant of how business works can sit ensconced on their high horses all they want. If something goes wrong with J&J, even cursorily related to J&J (recent example anyone?), these very same cretins would be the first to stampede to their blogs and criticize a company for being so in the wrong. Well, stand up to it. If Red Cross or Mother Teresa or The Salvation Army flout a law, they do not get away with it just by virtue of what they represent. I expect the Red Cross to come out and do what is right, not righteous from a puerile perspective of emotional masses who know how to comment on blogs.

Alan Wolk said...

Shanx: Given that you're in Singapore, how can you know what Americans really think about J&J and our Red Cross.

Bottom line: I'd take the risk of anything going wrong with a Red Cross product that has a logo that may (but probably wouldn't) be confused with my own versus being known as the company that sued the (very well liked) American Red Cross.

I'm also wondering why you're now posting on something I wrote well over a month ago and why this makes you so agitated.

Alan Wolk said...

You might also want to check out this link: