Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Red Cross Brand Blunder

Did you know that the Red Cross Branding belonged to J&J for ten years before they generously allowed the Red Cross to use it, for free, forever? And that they had a proviso? Yes, apparently J&J did not want the logo to be used to sell canned ham and therefore stipulated that the logo must not be used for "reasons not directly related to their mission."

Seth has a great article on his blog

Well, apparently the wizards at the Red Cross have decided to capitalize on "their" branding and have come up with a few licensing deals. J&J is understandably upset, no doubt the corporation has been proud of it's huge donation to the cause. So J&J has taken steps to correct the situation.

And can you blame J&J? it turns out that one of the companies proudly sporting the J&J Red Cross is Curel, a J&J Competitor. Not sure if I am right to call it the J&J Red Cross? Check out the J&J Branding that dates back to the mid 1800s (here is a quick modern example)

Here is where I agree with Seth. You would think that the RC folks would say a quick mea culpa and life would go on (you know I bet J&J would even kick in a large donation for some recognition of their part in the branding of the Red Cross). But no, in this litigious culture that cannot happen.

So, the Red Cross has had free use of a J&J brand under non-commercialization conditions and chooses to license a it to a J&J competitor. J&J asked them to stop, they didn't, J&J sued and the bozos at the RC came out with this:
For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute, . . . simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene.
Obscene indeed --did I mention that J&J is the third largest charitable contributor in the United States? (Forbes).

The Red Cross messed up. So what? That happens. This should never have seen the light of day. Apologies should have been made, accepted, contracts voided (not legal anyhoo), donations made, lawyers be damned.


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