Johnson & Johnson vs. American Red Cross

Johnson & Johnson finds itself in need of emergency relief to resolve its no-win situation with the American Red Cross. The company has filed suit against the Red Cross because of alleged violations of an agreement that stipulates how the Red Cross can use J&J’s red cross logo it has used for more than 100 years. J&J has become frustrated as the Red Cross entered into marketing agreements with manufacturers to produce Red Cross-branded products that use the iconic red logo, which violates the agreement with J&J (at least according to the company).

You have to empathize with J&J in this case. Brand assets are among an organization’s most valuable possessions, and it should do everything in its power to protect the integrity of brand names, logos, and other brand marks. Unfortunately, going after a highly respected non-profit with a mission of providing relief to others in time of great need will do nothing to score points for J&J. Rather than engaging in a legal battle with the American Red Cross over co-branded goods, maybe J&J should have been more proactive in exploring co-branding opportunities for its own products. Combining these two venerable brands into product offerings could potentially command price premiums, but it’s hard to envision such a move now in light of the battle brewing between the two organizations. Link