Red Crosshairs

The Red Cross found itself in the middle of a branding tussle inside a Manhattan courtroom yesterday.
According to The New York Times, Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross have shared the red cross symbol amicably for more than 100 years — Johnson & Johnson on its commercial products and the American Red Cross as a symbol of its relief efforts on foreign battlefields and in disasters like floods and tornadoes.
But in 2004, the American Red Cross began licensing the symbol to commercial partners selling products at retail establishments. According to the lawsuit, those products include humidifiers, medical examination gloves, nail clippers, combs and toothbrushes.
“What we’re talking about here is their deviation from a longstanding partnership and collaboration around the use of this trademark and their push to commercialize this trademark in the for-profit arena,” Jeffrey J. Leebaw, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson said. “We deeply regret that it has become necessary to file this complaint. The company has the highest regard for the American Red Cross and its mission.”
The president of the American Red Cross, Mark W. Everson, said the legal actions against his organization were “obscene” and “simply so that J.& J. can make more money.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.