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All you need is love? Johnson & Johnson, Cornetto and Tiffany & Co seem to think so

“Love: it’s the most powerful thing on the planet.”  So proclaim Johnson & Johnson in their first corporate marketing campaign in a decade, ‘For All You Love’, that migrated to television this week.    But few leading brands actually focus on the idea of love as their brand idea.  Powerful it may be, but popular (as a brand idea) it isn’t.

This might be changing, however. The Cornetto brand is experience a major rebranding effort this year – with a refreshed identity that launched in April, a repositioning from ice cream to snack brand, and the launch last week of a global initiative called ‘Cupidity’, featuring 8 lovers, and four short films inspired by insights from teenagers about love.

Their CMO explained that their brand DNA has always revolved around the idea of love, and the new campaign introduces a strapline of  ‘Enjoy the ride, love the ending’.

Both J&J and Cornetto could look to Tiffany & Co as the quintessential love brand.  It took them until 2011 to explicitly articulate that they are ‘the ultimate expression of love’, with the launch of their “What Makes Love True” brand story effort.

Since then their brand value has risen 15%, according to Interbrand, and they reentered the Brand Finance top 500.  No doubt Cornetto and Johnson & Johnson will be looking for a similar uplift, but time will tell whether their brands have the same credibility, and can differentiate in an increasingly crowded love space.

My bet is that there is room for Cornetto to claim ‘teen love’ and for Tiffany to stand for ‘true love’ but that J&J may struggle to build a sustainable ‘love’ association, particularly given that their brand idea is fundamentally more about ‘caring’.  Michael Sneed, the company’s vice president for global corporate affairs, said the goal of the campaign was “to continue to reconnect with all of the people who come into contact with J.& J. in their daily lives”, and that “People want to understand what’s behind the brand.” Although they do make a link, that “love is the reason you care”, building a deeper association with the explicit idea of caring, given their credo and history, may have served them better.  As written in Forbes today, J&J need to talk about their walk, and their ‘walk’, reputation and purpose, despite the product and quality issues they have faced since 2009,  has always been about caring.