Johnson & Johnson’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

Photo by ydhsu on, (cc) some rights reserved.Johnson & Johnson is famous for its heroic handling of the Tylenol recall back in 1982. The company has been far less adept at treating its own self-inflicted wounds, based on this fascinating article in yesterday’s New York Times

In a nutshell: J&J has been plagued with product, manufacturing and distribution problems over the past year, costing the company hundreds of millions in sales—and far more in brand reputation.

The Times’ article quotes a consumer who ran into a “brick wall” trying to get answers about product availability, and others who have started buying generics since J&J’s brand halo tarnished.

Mystifyingly, J&J’s home page has no mention of the problems. Nor does a quick check of “Our Company.” Clicking on the company’s Twitter feed button merely turns up a chirpy list of PR stories with a scant 819 followers.

I finally found information about the company’s “remediation” plans (bad choice of words) and a link to a grim-looking recall page buried in the News section of J&J’s website.

What’s happening here? Has the healthcare giant forgotten its world-famous credo? I don’t think so, but the company does appear to have lost touch with modern social media and communications practices. What worked 30 years ago would merely be a Band-Aid today.