Johnson & Johnson are suing the Red Cross over the use of the Red Cross. Ah good morning Mr Bull, may I show you this large red rag?
Well, actually they’re suing because the Red Cross is licensing other for-profits to use the cross in areas where, JNJ claim, they have exclusive rights. Well, that’s my short version, anyway.
J&J are blogging about it, and dealing with some fairly harsh – and some surprisingly supportive, comments online. As J&J’s Ray Jordan admits
So, I’ve now lived a classic corporate public affairs nightmare: announcing a lawsuit against the American Red Cross. Would I have chosen this exercise as a reputation-building opportunity for Johnson & Johnson? No, of course not.
Adriana Lucas, who’s helped J&J get in the blogging groove, says:
The price for getting your story out there is losing control over where it ends and who adds to it. The ‘reward’ is the ability to bypass the media, an unmediated and more human reach to those who care about the whole story, not just the outrage of the day in the papers.
Yes, with blogging your fingers get more dirt on them, but you do stand a chance to get a more real engagement. This is a quite a shift for any PR and I give credit to JNJ for blogging it with a human voice. The comments there make very interesting reading – you realise there are many different perspectives on what’s happening and that JNJ are willing to have the conversation, not try and skirt round it.
Disclosure: I’ve also worked with J&J thanks to Adriana, so I’m horribly biased.