Johnson & Johnson is in trouble! The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has launched a boycott of the company’s classic baby shampoo in the yellow bottle. For two and a half years (!) the group has been trying to get Johnson & Johnson to change their product line, because they contain two carcinogens, ioxane and quaternium-15 which releases formaldehyde.
Now, I’m sure that with all the press, Johnson & Johnson will quickly react and remove the offending chemicals from their namesake product line. The company is smart enough to realize that this isn’t a battle they want to fight.
But I think it could still do damage to the conglomerate’s image. After all, these are adorable little babies we’re talking about! Sweet, innocent cherubs who were literally bathing in toxic chemicals! The horror!
I’m not trying to poke fun at a serious issue of social corporate responsibility, but companies have to understand that the vulnerability of the victim is directly proportional to the amount of outrage that can be caused. If you’re a company that provides goods or services for infants, you had better made safety your top concern. Nothing pulls on the heartstrings like a sick or injured infant.
Johnson & Johnson isn’t the only company to learn just how horrible an endearing victim can be for their PR department. These companies all lost a lot of faith and goodwill because they took advantage of some very sympathetic little guys.