J&J Baby aims to turn ingredients scandal into sales with 'transparent' ad campaign

A still shot from Johnson & Johnson's new "Our Promise" video campaign--Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson

Under pressure from consumer groups, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) vowed to remove certain controversial ingredients from its baby and infant products two years ago. Now, the company is taking that oath and turning it into a marketing advantage.

As part of one of the baby brand's biggest-ever social media efforts, the company is launching a series of what will ultimately be more than 40 videos targeted at millennial moms. Initially, the videos will focus on J&J's commitment to remove the offending ingredients; the first video, aptly titled "Our Promise," launched last week, Ad Age reports.

The video uses a Japanese legend as a springboard: "When you make 1,000 origami cranes it signifies a hope granted and a promise fulfilled," the saying goes, as the video explains. J&J employees and their families are shown writing their heartfelt pledges to consumers--many focused on safety--on pieces of paper, folding them up to make the brightly colored birds.

"We are moms, dads, parents just like you," the video's text reads. "We heard your concern about certain ingredients in our products. Although always safe, for your peace of mind, we removed them."

Gone from the company's popular baby shampoo--along with 100 other baby products--are formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, two chemicals that have come under mounting scrutiny from consumers and environmental groups. In January of this year, J&J said it had met its goal of removing both from its formulas.

Kelly Gottfried, marketing director of Johnson's Baby, told Ad Age J&J recognized that to connect with millennial moms, the company needed to be "very transparent." Though the products have always been safe, she said, "as a mom I understand you hear certain buzzwords about certain ingredients, and that causes concerns at any level."

But creating the videos is only one step toward assuaging moms' fears. J&J also needs to get the videos circulating--and it will start by asking its employees to share the video through their own social media channels in what a spokeswoman called "a direct call to action."

The New Jersey pharma also plans to share the videos through its YouTube channel and Facebook page and support them with paid advertising on Facebook and YouTube, and in print, Ad Age notes.

And as it widens its reach, the campaign will be broadening in scope, too. According to the publication, series like "MythConceptions" and "Did You Know" will follow, as well as open video forums where moms can share questions and answers.

- see the Ad Age story

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