Research Finds Consumers Less Trusting of Public Companies

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- S.C. Johnson & Son, Racine, Wis., a family-owned company with no aspirations of going public, is taking the unusual tact of launching a corporate branding TV campaign Nov. 13 with the objective of appealing to consumers, not investors.

$450 million campaign
The maker of such brands as Glade, Pledge, Raid, Windex and Ziploc describes the new campaign as the centerpiece of its $450 million global ad campaign.

The campaign, which includes an initial flight of two 30-second ads, will run on the same programs as, though not back-to-back with,the company's brand ads, said Mark Pacchini, worldwide account director on the account at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago.

'A Family Company'
Leading up to the campaign, S.C. Johnson has added a prominent "S.C. Johnson -- a Family Company" tagline to all of its brand ads over the past two years.

Mr. Pacchini said he expects the campaign to run for several years, possibly getting increased media weight in future years, adding that initial spending would be fairly modest, though he said it would represent increased spending overall for the company aside from existing plans for product and brand advertising.

Consumers distrust public companies
FCB said its research found that 80% of consumers believe family-owned companies make products they can trust vs. 43% who said that of publicly traded companies.

To play off that sentiment, the ads feature Samuel C. Johnson, the 73-year-old chairman emeritus and

great-grandson of the founder of the 115-year-old company, Samuel Curtis Johnson. In ads, he discusses topics such as the company's innovation, quality, family values and commitment to environment. During the tenure of the younger Mr. Johnson, the marketer's annual sales have grown from $171 million to $6 billion.

Mr. Johnson makes an appealing pitchman for his company and its values, Mr. Pacchini said, relating a comment from a consumer in a focus group: "I don't know what Mr. Lever looks like," she said. "But if I ran into Mr. Johnson in an elevator, I think I'd like to talk with him."

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