Goal of J&J's pro soccer marketing deal? Scoring with millennials, Hispanics

Courtesy of J&J

Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) consumer division knows that much of its target audience consists of millennials, Hispanics and moms--and that those three groups have something else in common, too: soccer.

According to the company, the sport is tops among each of those population segments, who help make up the neary 113 million soccer fans nationwide. And that's why the drugmaker's family of consumer companies has signed on Major League Soccer and U.S. Men's, Women's and Youth National Teams, J&J says.

As part of the agreement, J&J's consumer brands will be featured in field-level signage at matches played in the U.S., meaning they'll have visibility during nationally broadcast tilts on Univision, ESPN, Fox Sports and UniMas, a J&J spokeswoman told FiercePharmaMarketing via email. In return, the brands will integrate the partnership into their marketing plans, be they advertising, retail, grassroots, PR or digital.

J&J has already gotten to work on that front, distributing a soccer-celebrating video via social media. The New Jersey giant shared the short film--which places a narrative about family and community over soccer scenes from across the nation--on its YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Several of its brands, including Healthy Essentials, Band-Aid and Neutrogena, shared it too.

"We see this sponsorship as a way for the Johnson & Johnson family of consumer companies to drive growth for our diverse group of brands, strengthen relevance with consumers and other key stakeholders, and deepen our connection to the communities we serve," the spokeswoman said.

It's not the first time the pharma has turned to soccer as a way to connect with consumers. Last year, Listerine launched its "Power to your Mouth" campaign for the& 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The allergy brand Zyrtec also executed a Hispanic-focused campaign with Univision leading up to the soccer tournament, and Neutrogena counts U.S. Soccer great Landon Donovan among its brand ambassadors as the face of Neutrogena Men.

J&J will welcome whatever consumer loyalty it can build through the sport, especially for a consumer business that has seen brighter days. Following some major quality control problems, the company has suffered, with retailers not fully stocked with some of its top OTC drug brands.

- read more from U.S. Soccer
- watch J&J's video

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