J&J ($JNJ) chief talks up plans for rehabbing image

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) chief Bill Weldon (photo) acknowledges that his company's reputation has taken a licking--but he says the damage isn't as bad as people thought it would be. In an interview with The Star-Ledger, Weldon says he expects Tylenol and other brands affected by recent recalls to bounce back once production problems are fully resolved.

J&J has been plagued by a series of recalls stemming from manufacturing deficiencies, chiefly at a problem plant in Fort Washington, PA. That McNeil Consumer Healthcare plant was shut down for retooling and rehabilitation, knocking out supplies of J&J's key children's drugs until the middle of next year.

"There has been an impact on the confidence that people have in J&J, but it's been nowhere near as significant as you would have initially anticipated or thought," Weldon tells the Star-Ledger. "One of the things I can say, I get more questions about 'how quickly can you get this, my children need it and I won't give them anything else.' There's still a tremendous confidence in J&J and the products when you look at the confidence surveys."

Weldon says J&J plans two marketing campaigns once the recalled products get back onto the market. One will focus on the Tylenol brand--which has suffered recalls not only in the children's drug arena, but also in adult-oriented products--and McNeil, he said, and the other will aim to bolster the overall J&J image. Some of that marketing will be aimed at consumers, while some will focus on doctors.

- read the Star-Ledger interview