Ad Age: You could make the case that if there's
an image issue, it hasn't hurt much, looking at the recent stock
performance. On Fortune's list of "Most Admired Companies," you're
No. 23, down from No. 5 in 2009. Is there an image issue?
Mr. Sneed: Well, I would say in some ways, yes,
there is. We're certainly pleased with how the business has been
doing recently, but we want to make sure people think of J&J as
a long-term provider of health care, as a company that's going to
be there day in and day out. While we're still considered among the
best, there's nothing wrong with being the best. And we
want to make sure we get back to that.
But we also know that's a reflection of all the things that we
do. So the campaign is really a small part of the conversation.
Ultimately, if we're following the tenets of our credo, the rest of
it will take care of itself.
Ad Age: Some would say corporate-image work
really doesn't sell products. What are your thoughts?
Mr. Sneed: Look, if you're looking for a
one-to-one direct relationship between a corporate-advertising
campaign and then a transaction that takes place in the immediate
term, that's probably true. But I do think more and more consumers
do want to understand the companies they're doing business with,
and our thinking. The stakeholders we focus on are so much more
varied than they were five or 10 years ago.
We certainly have consumers, and they're incredibly important,
but we also have a lot of other stakeholders -- doctors, nurses,
other health-care workers, regulators, other government officials.
They ultimately make decisions about who they partner with, who
they recommend. And so ultimately I do think having a good
reputation is incredibly important to sustaining a strong and
Ad Age: Why did you go the direction you
Mr. Sneed: I'll be honest and say there was no
grand plan. When I got into the role, I had the opportunity to
speak to our holding companies, and then get an opportunity to get
to know several of the agencies within those holding companies. I'd
never worked directly with TBWA, but through the course of my
conversations with them, I asked, "Hey, are there any ideas about
what we should be doing?" And they had been noodling some ideas. At
that point they'd showed me this idea that ultimately became "For
All You Love." When I saw it, I said, "This really speaks to the
core of what J&J is." And then last fall we started getting
serious about this.
Ad Age: Is there risk when you have a very
emotional corporate campaign that you trigger blowback among folks
who say: "They're J&J, and they did this and this and
Mr. Sneed: There's always going to be a section
of people who are very jaded whenever they see these types of
campaigns. And in some regards they should be if they believe the
companies aren't really trying to live up to what they're saying. I
don't think that's the case with J&J.
The other side of it is in today's environment, where you have a
lot of people telling your story, you have to also be in there
telling your story and having that conversation.
Ad Age: Some of the over-the-counter brands and
products that resumed production have done very well. Is that a
good sign for other Tylenol products when they come back?
Mr. Sneed: I can't predict that. But we've been
certainly pleased with the robustness of the Tylenol and other OTC
businesses. I think it tells you about the resiliency of the brand,
that there has been a reservoir of trust and goodwill. And people
have been anxious to see these brands back on the shelf.