Johnson and Johnson’s strategy for China is to subvert traditional family stereotypes

Johnson and Johnson on stage with JWT at Spikes

Johnson and Johnson (J&J) is finding success for its healthcare brands in China by having a point of view on evolving societal changes.

Speaking at Spikes Asia today (21 September), Lakish Hatalkar, vice president of global franchise organisation for Asia Pacific at Johnson and Johnson, said China presented problems but these were really opportunities for a brand.

“The challenges are there but we have an opportunity to engage and touch people’s lives and, in this case, quite literally,” he said.

The campaign he used to support this point was for Bayer-owned pregnancy vitamin brand Elevit, which recently launched to highlight the loneliness that women feel in China when their partners aren’t allowed to attend ultrasound appointments. J. Walter Thompson Shanghai created a tool that recorded the ultrasound result and turned it into vibrations, allowing the fathers to later hear and feel the experience.

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The emotional film drew tears from the crowds at Spikes Asia and when Hatalkar asked how many of those were fathers that had attended the first ultrasound, just two raised their hands.

Lo Sheung Yan, Asia Pacific creative council chairman for J. Walter Thompson, said the best strategy is to tap into China’s changing society.

“The opportunity is how you connect brand purpose with human challenges in day to day lives. We are linking that to evolving societal changes,” he said.

The brand has specifically identified three changes around the evolution of the Chinese woman. The first is the change from being depicted as ‘sacrificing for family’ to experiencing ‘mutual love within the family’. The second was that mothers and parents force children to success and instead are empowering children's own passions. The final point, which was demonstrated by the Elevit campaign, was that mothers are the sole caregivers and now fathers are taking a more active role in parenthood.

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