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August 14, 2007

Johnson & Johnson Makes Brand Naming Boo-Boo; Google in the Goo(Phone)

There are two pieces of news from the world of brand naming that have me scratching my head that obviously look good on paper but just don't make a lot of sense in the real world.

First off, the news that Johnson & Johnson is going to sue the American Red Cross over the use of its, well, red cross, is what some might call PR Hari Kari.

RedCross.gif This is like cutting off your nose to spite your chin hairs... a multi-billion dollar company taking on one of the noblest institutions in the world over its use of the red cross because the institution sells a few million bucks worth of disaster kits.

The Patent Barista says it best: "The legal case is on shaky ground, the red cross symbol is universally recognized as standing for medical care, and the PR backlash is going to be ruinous." More than that, I agree with Bill Gallagher... I challenge my readers to even find a red cross anywhere on the Johnson & Johnson web site. Go on, take a look.

C'mon. Does anyone associate Johnson & Johnson with the red cross symbol? In a different world, would it not be worth the company's time to offer the Red Cross money to share the symbol? What better logo and name is there on earth to be associated with if you make bandages, guys?

The most ridiculous name of the week comes from Google, however, who is threatening to unleash upon the world the GooPhone.

I thought it was a sick prank.

At least one report claims that it is set to take out the Apple iPhone because it will offer free service and the company will literally be giving them away. I figure that with a product name like GooPhone you'd darn well better be giving them away.

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Posted by William Lozito at August 14, 2007 12:29 PM
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3 Comments

Well, J&J sure have a good history of their use of the red cross:
http://www.jnj.com/our_company/history/history_section_1.htm

Moreover, here's pictures from the 1890s timeline that shows their use:
http://www.jnj.com/our_company/timeline/1890.htm

Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of the suit. To the extent J&J do have trademark rights for use on commercial products, then the Red Cross' licensing of J&J's competitors is equally bad.

This is Wendy from the American Red Cross.

Thanks for weighing in on this issue and for your support.

You have to be kidding. Bill is not the only person out there struggling to find that red cross on J & J products, and for goodness sakes a red cross means "medical aid" anywhere in the world. Heck, J & J should go after Howard Johnson's now. Anyway, J & J are going to look like total bullies now. It's a crazy suit indeed driven by a company that has too many boody lawyer and not enough common sense.

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