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The Johnson & Johnson name is widely associated with consumer healthcare, but in fact this is the corporate group's smallest operating division, dwarfed by separate pharmaceutical and medical devices divisions (see separate page). Yet this is still a mammoth business with combined sales over $14.6bn in 2021, spanning multiple different categories and several separate operating companies, including McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Several products have been acquired through acquisition, not least the mammoth acquisition of Pfizer's original OTC division for $16.6bn in 2007. One of the biggest sub-groups, with sales of $4.5bn in 2021, comprises general beauty products, primarily skincare and personal cleansing and more recently haircare. Key global brands include Neutrogena, Aveeno, RoC and Piz Buin suncare, and these are supplemented by regional jewels such as Le Petit Marseillais in France and Dabao in China, among others. In 2016, J&J paid $3.3bn to acquire US haircare marketer Vogue International, maker of OGX and others. Johnson's Baby is the cornerstone of a sizeable baby care range, with sales of almost $1.6bn. Bigger internationally than in the US, this unit houses such regional jewels as Hipoglos in Brazil and Penaten in Germany; but US-based information portal BabyCenter.com was sold in 2019. The oral care portfolio is led by iconic mouthwash Listerine acquired from Pfizer. Combined sales are $1.6bn. What was once a sizeable Women's Health unit has now been largely disbanded in the US with the sale of products such as StayFree and Carefree sanitary towels (to Edgewell) and K-Y intimate lubricants (to Reckitt). However J&J still owns several of those brands internationally, with combined sales of $917m. Wound care comprises Band-aids and a few other brands, while OTC is the general umbrella for an extensive collection of non-prescription medicines, led by analgesics icon Tylenol, and a collection of cold and allergy medicines including Zyrtec, Benadryl, Actifed and Sudafed. Combined sales were $5.2bn in 2021. Among the company's numerous other OTC products are digestive health remedies Mylanta, Pepcid and Imodium, anti-smoking aid Nicorette (outside the US), analgesics Motrin and St Joseph, and Visine eyecare. However the OTC portfolio suffered a serious knock in 2010 after the company identified manufacturing problems at one of its biggest US factories which could have caused contamination of these and other OTC children's medicines. As a result all children's Tylenol products were withdrawn from sale for several months. A series of other problems followed, leading to several further recalls of different products from the range, substantially eroding consumers' trust. More recently the group was hit by the first of what are likely to be thousands of lawsuits alleging its long-established talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Thibaut Mongon is EVP & worldwide chairman, J&J consumer health. In 2021, the group announced plans to spin off the Consumer Health as a separate company, most probably in early 2023.
Capsule checked 13th August 2021
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Historical profile information for Johnson & Johnson
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Nov 2021: Johnson & Johnson announced plans to spin off its Consumer Health division as a separate public company, most probably in early 2023. Further details will be decided during the course of 2022.
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Oct 2019: There has been a noticeable absence of big name account wins since Wunderman and JWT joined forces nine months ago, with Duracell virtually the only banner bolt-on. As a result, Wunderman Thompson can ill-afford high-profile defections. This week, long-time JWT client Johnson & Johnson announced the transfer of its US OTC "self care" business to Doner. That includes megabrands Tylenol, Listerine and Zyrtec. The Listerine account has been with JWT for almost 60 years, and combined billings for those three products alone is well over $200m annually in the US. That represents the biggest single account win for Doner for several years. WPP will, as a result, shutter Neighborhood, the dedicated agency it created to manage the business. In a defensive statement, though, the group pointed out that WT retains J&J's pharmaceuticals account "which is the lion's share of its US revenues from J&J".
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Mar 2018: Johnson & Johnson completed a closed review of creative duties for its US consumer healthcare brands with a restructuring of the relationship with what are already its two main suppliers: Omnicom (primarily BBDO and DDB) and WPP (mainly J Walter Thompson). Media is already consolidated at Interpublic with dedicated agency J3, and J&J has now persuaded Omnicom and WPP to follow suit with the creation of two new specialised entities. Omnicom's is named Velocity, bringing together teams from BBDO, DDB and its satellite unit Roberts & Langer, and the group's PR agencies. It is led by Brian Nienhaus, who transfers across from We Are Unlimited, the same group's dedicated McDonald's agency. Meanwhile, WPP has launched Neighborhood, combining resources from JWT, VML, shopper agency Geometry, and production division Hogarth, as well as its own collection of PR agencies. Leadership has yet to be confirmed, but Krystal Herr, who currently oversees J&J's business at JWT is among the top managers.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Aug 2017: Johnson & Johnson suffered its worst loss to-date in what is expected to be a long series of court cases alleging links between use of its Johnson's Baby talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Eight cases have come to a verdict so far. J&J won three, but has lost five. In the latest, the jury awarded the plaintiff $417m in compensation and punitive damages, more than the four previous losses combined. There are still some 4,800 other claims still waiting to be addressed. The company denies any links between its products and an increased risk of cancer and is appealing against all five cases it has lost.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th May 2017: Johnson & Johnson's reputation - still fragile after a series of OTC recalls over the past decade - remains under intense pressure following the loss of another court case over alleged links between use of its talcum powder and ovarian cancer. This latest is the 4th J&J has lost, but the award of punitive damages of $110m is the steepest yet, bring total potential costs to-date of more than $300m. J&J is appealing the penalty, citing the fact that it has been cleared in three other such trials. The task ahead is daunting, though, with well over 3,000 other talc-related suits still awaiting their day in court.
Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Nov 2016: Johnson & Johnson lost a third lawsuit in St Louis, Missouri over claims that its talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. In a separate development, Johnson & Johnson sold Asia Pacific rights to the Reach toothbrush and dental floss brand to LG Home & Healthcare, South Korea's biggest personal care company. J&J sold the Reach brand in North America in 2012, and recently absorbed Reach dental floss into the Listerine family.
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