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Seven More Things You Didn’t Know About J&J!

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By Margaret Gurowitz
Jul 25, 2012

Game shows.  Moustaches.  Hollywood movie studios.  Doll clothing.  They can’t all be connected to Johnson & Johnson…or can they?  Of course, they can!  Read on to discover seven more things you didn’t know about J&J.

Imogene Coca, in a Johnson & Johnson ad still from 1954, from our archives

1.    In the mid-1950s, iconic comedian and television pioneer Imogene Coca advertised the Company’s first aid products on television, as part of Johnson & Johnson’s “Emergencies Don’t Wait” campaign.  Here’s a photo of her overreacting in horror to the fact that her medicine cabinet is lacking first aid supplies…something that the Company hoped to remedy with its 1954 campaign.

Quiz Kids! Photo courtesy of Johnson & Johnson, 75 Years of Caring, Australia & New Zealand, by Peter Donovan

2.    Speaking of early TV advertising, Johnson & Johnson was a sponsor of Australia’s wildly popular television show “The Quiz Kids” in the 1940s and 1950s.

Employees wearing fake moustaches as part of a skit in 1954, from our archives.

3.    Big fake moustaches are extremely popular these days, and they’re showing up everywhere from kids’ birthday parties to internet memes.  Trend-setting Johnson & Johnson employees in the 1950s anticipated this craze by almost 60 years…as shown by this photo from a 1954 employee skit.

4.    Since it’s the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the Civil War, did you know that Charles Johnson and William Johnson (two of the older brothers of Company founders Robert Wood Johnson, James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson) were Civil War veterans?  Charles Johnson was a second lieutenant in the Pennsylvania Volunteers, and William was a private in the Union Army.  Their experiences, in part, helped inspire their brothers Robert, James and Edward to improve surgery by starting Johnson & Johnson to manufacture the first mass-produced sterile surgical dressings and sterile sutures.

Johnson & Johnson Beauty Spots, Nineteen Teens, from our archives.

5.    Today, some of our operating companies have popular and iconic beauty brands such as NEUTROGENA®, AVEENO®, ROC® and AMBI®.  But what was our first ever beauty product?  It was none other than Beauty Spots, 100 years ago.

Doll with dairy-filter doll dress, from our museum and archives.

6.    Johnson & Johnson operating companies have made many unusual things during our 126-year history, but doll dresses?  Yes, we made those too – or rather, we made kits for sewing doll dresses circa the late 1950s/early 1960s. Over half a century ago, one of our operating companies made flat, circular discs of non-woven fabric that were used in the dairy industry.  The disks were also sold – in pastel colors – as kits to make doll clothing.

7.    What’s the connection between LISTERINE® Antiseptic Mouthwash and films like Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Wall-E and Brave?  Pixar, the Hollywood movie studio that made those films also did a series of three animated LISTERINE® commercials back in 1993.  (Back then, Pixar was also making commercials!)  According to this blog on the history of Pixar, the "Arrow" commercial won Pixar its first Gold Clio Award.  You can see all three commercials here, and here’s the winning commercial:

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Ai Ling
JULY 26, 2012 11:16 AM

I enjoy reading and seeing your blog updates and the images that you share. Please keep it up! It's a great history to learn and it's also great to be making history today! Thank you!

Marcia M. Persiano
JULY 26, 2012 06:24 PM

This is Super!! I always look forward to your Kilmer Blogs! You manage to bring us all this neat information in such a fun way - You are an awesome story-teller!!!! Marcia

Creamy Yiu
DECEMBER 13, 2012 01:16 PM

Thanks a lot for the comprehensive history of J & J!
I'm really expect you! You help me to do the assignment!:)