Just as we predicted--though, frankly, it wasn't a tough call--Johnson & Johnson has found itself in the midst of a PR nightmare over its trademark dust-up with the American Red Cross. Newspapers are even editorializing about it; the Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial page juxtaposes big, bad corporate J&J and its lawyers against humanitarian, nurse, and Red Cross founder Clara Barton. By those lights, J&J might have sued Mother Teresa.
To its credit, J&J did know what it was getting into. On the day the story broke, the company's corp comm VP admitted he "appreciated how undeniably juicy the story would be." Friday, CEO Bill Weldon issued talking points to employees--which included a pledge to donate any damages won in the lawsuit to charity. Otherwise, the company is sticking to its guns. The suit is about "upholding the law" and preventing "dangerous precedent," the company's blog states. We'll have to wait and see which is more dangerous: the precedent or the lawsuit itself.