J&J's World Cup Campaign Barely Mentions Soccer or World Cup

Official Sponsor Uses Online Video to Promote 'Care Inspires Care' Program

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Advertising Age Player

No soccer players, no references to Rio de Janiero or Brazil. Is this any way to launch a World Cup campaign?

Johnson & Johnson thinks so. The official health-care sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is kicking off its U.S. marketing effort for the games by hardly mentioning them. Instead, it's breaking an online video today called "Once Upon a Care" that asks Mom and Dad if they are doing enough to inspire their children to care about others.

JWT, New York and production company Rooster tapped children's book author Patricia Lakin to conduct interviews with kids at New York City schools. She asks them: "Why do you think it's important for you to care?" J&J took their answers -- about growing up to become firefighters and nurses who help those in need -- and turned them into illustrated children's books.

The parents in the video are delighted to learn their kids actually care about more than just video games. "I feel like I've done something right," says one proud Dad. The themeline: "The care you give your children, they give back to the world. Care inspires care."

Starting today, J&J is planning paid media to support the video across sites ranging from Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Men's Health and ABC News to CNN, Yahoo, AOL and NBC News.

One of the few references to World Cup on the website (and nearly three-minute long video) is a small, green and yellow FIFA World Cup Brazil logo with a line noting that J&J is official health-care sponsor.

Wendy Tull Bucaro, J&J's marketing director-corporate equity, said in a statement that the strategy is all about connecting "our passion for caring with the world's passion for football." The "Once Upon a Care" video promotes "a mindful awareness among fans about the importance of care that we teach our children, even at young ages, that translates across cultures and generations."

The idea was actually inspired by a previous video created by JWT Brazil in late 2013 that went viral. While J&J is low-keying its World Cup connection in the U.S., it will be far more upfront on the global stage in Brazil.

J&J's medical team, for example, is working with FIFA to standardize the medical bag that team doctors will use to treat players injured on the pitch. J&J is also working with FIFA to create standardized medical signage in stadiums (and standardized uniforms for medical workers) so fans will quickly know where to go and who to talk to if they need medical attention. Prior to this year, first-aid kits and signage varied from stadium to stadium in Brazil.

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