Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kicking Babies

As you have probably read, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is suing the American Red Cross (ARC) for using its trademarked red cross without authorization. You can read J&J's press release here. Apparently, J&J has owned the for-profit rights to the logo and the ARC has owned the non-profit rights for ages. The trouble apparently started when the ARC started licensing the symbol to merchandisers as a way to raise more capital. Mike Masnic at Techdirt has a nice take on the situation from a PR front.

Obviously, suing the Red Cross is not an action that is going to endear you to the public. But given that negotiations failed and the legal wants to press ahead, J&J's PR folks seem to have rubbed the rough edges off of what could have been/might be a spikey situation. In addition to the normal crisis communications/legal PR program, they created a blog to communicate their position to the ongoing conversation: http://jnjbtw.com.

You got to love to tone of the post: "You're Doing What?" Be sure to read the comments. Again, admire J&J's willingness to let people savage them on their own blog. I love the one where a nurse describes her elderly mother calling J&J "a bunch of puppy kickers."
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