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As a baby powder, J & J focuses on marketing on minority obese women

(Reuters) – The print was on Johnson & Johnson and its signature Baby Powder.

In 2006, an arm from the World Health Organization began classifying cosmetic talc as Baby Powder as "possibly carcinogenic" when women used it as a genital antiperspirant and deodorant, which many had been doing for years. Talc supplier Luzenac America Inc. began by including that information on its shipments to J & J and other customers.

J & J, meanwhile, was looking for ways to sell more Baby Powder to two major groups of long-term users: African American and overweight women. The "right place" to focus, according to an internal J & J internal marketing presentation in 2006, was "under developed geographic areas with hot weather and higher AA population", "AA" referring to African Americans.

"Powder is still considered a relevant product among AA consumers, the presentation says." This may be an occasion. "

In the following years, J & J has turned these proposals into action, internal business document display. Baby Powder samples through churches and beauty salons in African-American and Spanish districts, ran digital and printed weight loss campaigns and Weight Watchers wellness company, and launched a $ 300,000 advertising campaign in half a dozen markets aimed at reaching "curvy Southern Women 1

8-49" skewed African Americans. "

These are just some of the latest examples of J & J's decades-long efforts to offset declining baby powder sales among rising concerns about talks health effects based on Reuters review of years of J&J printing, radio and digital advertising campaigns and thousands of pages of internal marketing documents and e-mail correspondence.

Adults have been the main users of Johnson's baby powder since at least the 1970s, since pediatricians began to warn of the risk of infants of inhaled talk. – 91% of the Baby Powder use in the mid-2000s – equip J & J's powder rooms with court-targeted markets, from adolescent-focused ads to "fresh and natural" qualities of the product, to campaigns targeting older minorities and overweight women

Today, women who fall into these categories make up a large number of them The 13,000 plaintiffs claim that J & J's Baby Powder and Shower Shower, a powder brand sold by the company in 2012, caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

Many of the ovarian cancer lawyers have become the disease in perineal use of J & J cosmetic talkies – a claim supported by some studies showing the relationship between such use and increased cancer risk. The recent cases have claimed that J & J's talc products contained asbestos, long a known carcinogen.

In an investigation published on December 14, Reuters discovered that J & J knew for decades that small amounts of asbestos had sometimes been found in their raw talc and in Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, based on test results from the early 1970s to early 2000s – information it did not disclose to regulators or the public.

J & J challenged the results of the Reuters report and describes them as erroneous and misleading

Baby powder "everywhere"

Krystal Kim, a 53-year-old African-American American, was one of 22 plaintiffs , whose case in St. Louis resulted in a jury assessment last summer of $ 4.69 billion against J & J. Ms. Kim said Baby Powder and Shower Shower were household clogs among her family and friends as she grew up in New Jersey. Miss Kim played baseball as a teenager, she said and her mother said she would apply Baby Powder to avoid being "the stinky girl".

"Every time I bathed, I put on Baby Powder," reminded Kim, whose ovarian cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2014, is now released. "I put it on my panties, on my clothes, everywhere."

J&J appeals to the St. Louis Court. The company did not respond to the request for an interview with CEO Alex Gorsky or any other executive to discuss the company's marketing of cosmetic powders.

In an email reply to questions from Reuters, J & J said its Baby Powder is safe and asbestos-free. It is noted that the company's marketing over the years has focused on many demographics and groups, and that "we are proud pioneers in the practice of multicultural marketing". It also pointed out that some Baby Powder ads have presented the May Powder version of Baby Powder, whose safety is not questioned.

Reports from Bloomberg News, New York Times and Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, have cited some internal J & J documents showing the company's focus on African-American and overweight women on certain occasions. But the full timeline and scope of marketing efforts, especially those aimed at teenage girls, in minority groups and through organizations such as weight watchers, are reported here for the first time.

Most companies are familiar with demographic profiles of those who buy their products and, of course, directly market them in these groups. For example, some fast food companies and soft drink companies have committed minority customers to increase sales among heavy users at times of increased public concern about the possible health effects of their products.

In a process filed in the Mississippi court in 2014, the Mississippi law firm Jim Hood alleged that J & J failed to warn consumers of the risks associated with their talk products and accused the company of pursuing a "racial strategy "to sell Baby Powder after J & J became aware of health problems. The company focused its marketing on "minority communities that are expected to be more likely to use the talc products," says Mr. Hood in the trial.

J & J denied the claims and last year submitted a draft summary judgment in the suit and argued that the case involved federal law issues, beyond the state's opinion. A judge in December denied J & J's movement, a move that the company has appealed. The case is scheduled for trial later this year.

In his reply to Reuters questions, J & J said, "Suggesting that Johnson & Johnson targeted a particular group with a potentially harmful product is incredibly offensive and patented false."

"Deep, personal trust"

Sold continuously since 1894, Johnson's Baby Powder accounted for less than 1% of J & Js $ 81.6 billion in revenue last year, but it is considered to be critical to the company's family-friendly image. An internal J & J marketing presentation from 1999 refers to the baby products division, with Baby Powder in the core, as J & J's "# 1 Asset", based on "deep personal trust".

But in the 1950s, a series of case studies published in medical journals pointed to the dangers of breathing in talc. Pediatrician noted. In the late 1950s, one-third of corn starch or oil recommended treating rashes and chafing "because there is no hazardous dust" in them, according to an internal J&J report.

A report in the June 1966 edition of the American Journal of Children's Diseases, referring to the deaths of three children who inhaled large amounts of talcum powder, noted that there was "no justification" for using the product on infants because it not "have any medical value".

In 1974, more than 60% of Johnson's Baby Powder sales were "attributable to adults" who used it on their own, according to a J&J analysis.

Losing the connection to the product's name name – infants – left J&J eager to grow other markets.

Beginning in the 1970s, J & J's advertisements were clearly designed to appeal to young women, in addition to traditional marketing aimed at infants. "You're getting sexy when you stop trying" was the line from an ad that appeared in the 1700s in 1972. The picture shows a young woman who is fighting against a young man's curly blonde hair.

"It's a feeling that you never grow up," Is how an advertisement in the Family Circle newspaper from the mid-1980s expressed it with a photo of a bottle of baby powder next to a teddy bear beside the mirrored reflection of a young woman.

In 1989, the advertising company Young & Rubicam presented a plan for J & J to "launch a high level of use" among young women to "reinforce the debilitating child link". Under the plan, ads in style magazines such as seventeen, ym, glamor and mademoiselle would try to convince teenage girls like Johnson's Baby Powder, "applied daily after showering, is a simple, feminine way to smell clean and fresh during the day." Young & Rubicam, now known as VMLY & R, declined to comment on the document and referred questions to J & J.

Baby Powder sales continued to fall thr oughout in the 1980s and early 1990s. Since health professionals had already recommended using talc on babies, an interim report from 1986 warned that a "last straw" safety problem could lead consumers to abandon the product altogether.

As early as 1992, the company realized the sales potential of minority women. A J&J memo that year mentions "high usage rates" for baby powders of 52% among African Americans and 37.6% among Spanish-speaking customers – and notes that women of both ethnicities use the product more than the general population.

The note suggests examining "ethnic (African American / Spanish) opportunities to grow the franchise", while referring to "negative publicity from the health community about talc", including "inhalation, dust, negative doctoral closures, cancer associations". Parts of this note were quoted in Bloomberg and New York Times reports.

Stagnant sales

In 2006, the company recognized that "consumers do not see the need for powder", according to a sales presentation that year. The treatment of baby powder has been "stagnant" in recent years, presented the presentation, and it was important to "find a new business model" that "strategically and effectively targets consumers with high propensity".

These groups, according to the presentation: African Americans, almost 60% of them used Baby Powder at this time, compared to about 30% for the total population; overweight people and fitness conscious people who want to lose weight.

It was also 2006 as the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization, classified perineal use of talc as "possibly carcinogenic" available research yielding "limited evidence" it caused human cancer. It came about 20 years after IARC classified "talc containing asbestos fibers" as "carcinogenic to humans". The highest risk rating.

Following the IARC 2006 move, speech provider Luzenac America began a listing on the Agency's latest classification of a chemical safety document accompanying supplies to all customers, including J & J. Under a heading that reads "carcinogenic status", the document says "IARC" has concluded that perineal use of talc-based body powder may be carcinogenic to humans. "

In a deposit for one of the ovarian cancer cases tested in St. Louis, a Luzenac America chief executive, Shripal Sharma, said the company considered it important to add what he referred to as a warning to the security document. Asked if Luzenac knew that J & J did not forward this warning, Sharma said: "It is not our job to tell our customers what to do with their products."

In a statement to Reuters, Imerys Talc America Inc., which Luzenac is now known, said: "Talc's safe use has been confirmed by several legislative and scientific bodies," echoing J & J's response.

Through a spokesman from Imerys, Sharma refused to comment.

Two years after the IARC classification, J & J sought proposals for an "African American agency" to develop marketing campaigns for the company's baby products products. A 2008 document sent to potential authorities summarized the situation: "Johnson's baby oil and baby powder products, traditionally used only on infants, are currently used mainly by adult AA women for their own use." One way to reverse the brand's decline, it is said, was to "talk to AA consumers with a more relevant message with the most effective media vehicles."

"Ethnic Consumers"

That year, the company contracted with a North Carolina marketing firm, Segmented Marketing Services Inc., which states that it specializes in targeted campaigns for "ethnic consumers". The company would distribute 100,000 gift bags containing Baby Powder and other Johnson's baby products in the African-American and Spanish districts of Chicago under a contract with J & J.

Run by African Americans who had been executives at Procter & Gamble Co. and Quaker Oats, segmented marketing services, have said in previous press releases and its own marketing publications that it distributes millions of free product samples and campaigns through national networks of more than 10,000 African American and Spanish churches and tens of thousands of "beauty salons, hairdressing salons, entertainment venues and health care networks". [19659002] The company published an advertisement in 2008 prepared for distribution with Johnson's baby products where the company's founder Sandra Miller Jones and Lafayette Jones said they "welcome" J & J as a partner.

"When caring rituals started in infants, adulthood continues, a person's self-confidence and even belief in the world is often strengthened," said the pamphlet. "Whether you're in the gym, at work, in church or on the beach, Johnson helps adults to Feel more comfortable in their own skin. "It brought a $ 1 coupon from Baby Powder.

Lafayette Jones and Sandra Miller Jones did not respond to calls, emails, and LinkedIn messages seeking comments.

J & J also launched campaigns to increase sales of Baby Powder to curvy Southern Women and athletic adults who want to smell fresh according to company documents, announced in Weight Watchers magazine and offered campaigns via Lane Bryant clothing for Plus-size women and curves. A women's fitness and weight loss franchise, marketing plans also included ads to run in the Southern Living magazine and during the Style Network show "Ruby", a reality TV show e who documented an obese Georgia woman commissioned to lose weight.

A 2009 presentation on the "Powder media plan" emphasizes that it will reach 31 million people "in the south (hot climate / overweight state)" and that "43% of our plan will focus on the 10 overweight states in the country. "

A 2009 Watch in Weight Watchers magazine suggests readers" bust stress with a dinner exercise "and then" stay fresh after exercise by applying Johnson's Baby Powder. "

Internal J&J marketing emails before the Weight Watchers campaign ran discussing whether the women presented are heavy enough to reason with the intended audience. "Can you ask WW if they have any pictures of any larger women? They don't have to be super-curvy, but a little bigger than the current picture would be preferable," wrote Grace Lee, a J&J brand manager, to others at the company and ad agency Lowe New York.

Weight Watchers, now known officially as WW International Inc., refused to comment on the campaign. Lee & Interpublic Group of Companies Inc., which previously owned Lowe New York, did not respond to the request for comment.

Summer success

The weight watch campaign was successful according to a 2009 J & J record, which showed that sales of baby powder at Wal-Mart shot up as much as 9% during the summer months when the ads ran from same months the year before, which turned a downturn.

J & J's overall baby powder media advertising budget increased to a suggested $ 495,000 for 2010, up 71% from $ 288,000 in 2009, driven by more dedicated spending on campaigns for obese women.

In 2010, the company launched a radio campaign in the southern direction "Curvy Southern Women 18 -49 Skewing African American." A presentation from TMPG, a marketing agency that handles campaigns with radio DJ, said the campaign made more than 18 million impressions on the audience through advertisements and campaigns on "urban adult contempora ry" radio stations in southern markets, including Dallas; Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; Mobile, Alabama; and Jackson, Mississippi.

Presentation slides contain some pictures of plus-large African-American women holding Baby Powder samples at "targeted station events" that also included races and "Baby Powder Stay Cool Cash". TMPG did not respond to requests for comment.

In a 2010 email, Debra DeStasio, a J&J marketer and marketer who oversaw baby products at that time, sent the green light to two proposed radio stations for the Dallas campaign and said "we are good at the public market stations. who has good Spanish speaking reach and good AA range. "In another 2010 email, she said that the DJs will be" Baby Powder "brand ambassadors," loaded with "communicating with our message, encouraging listeners to call in to talk about how they use baby powder and drive to retail where appropriate. "

All radio advertising would be" based on the weather, "she wrote." If it's hot and humid, we drive that week. If it is rainy or colder, then we will not. "

Ms. DeStasio, now working as a marketer and marketing manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., did not respond to the request for comment.

J & J's Baby Powder campaign spending – coupons, discounts, and Samples – came to about $ 1.2 million in 2008 and again in 2010 were nearly half targeted at overweight and minority women.In 2011, the company lowered its marketing expenses to $ 752,000, mostly targeting the general consumer market.

In 2013, one found jury that J & J neglected in the first case ever to argue that regular use of Baby Powder for female hygiene caused ovarian cancer.The jury did not award monetary damages, but the judgment created a cascade of similar trials.

Of the eight ovarian cancer cases so far has gone to trial, four have resulted in judgments for the plaintiff and one for the company. Three other poems against J&J were appealed.

In 12 attempts of case so m claimed that asbestos in talc caused the plaintiffs mesothelioma, J & J was cleared of responsibilities in five and the plaintiff won three, resulting in a total of $ 172 million in damages.

J & J appeals to all judgments against it.

Meanwhile, J & J has withdrawn from marketing especially to minority and overweight women. In a 2015 presentation, minorities are not mentioned, suggesting the brand "target adults, focusing on men".

The owners' lawyers and other advocates have become more melancholy to criticize the targeted marketing campaigns. In its latest newsletter, the National Council of Negro Women, a women's management team with about 30,000 members, drew attention to the issue with a paper written by civil law attorney Ben Crump, representing some babypowder plaintiffs.

In an interview, Janice Mathis, the Executive Director of the Council, said: "Lots of products target African Americans. It's marketing 101: Go where our customers are. What I've disturbed me with is that you didn't make any contributions to the customers , when you knew there was a possibility, there was some danger. "


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