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J&J Specifically Marketed Baby Powder to Minority Women


In 2006, the World Health Organization designated cosmetic talc as “possibly carcinogenic.” During this same period of time, J&J was strategically trying to find new ways to increase Baby Powder sales among two key demographics of users: African-American and overweight women.

According to details from a 2006 internal J&J marketing presentation, the “right place” that the company should be focusing on was “underdeveloped geographical areas with hot weather, and higher AA population.” The “AA” reference made throughout the presentation refers to African-Americans. The main point of the presentation was, “powder is still considered a relevant product among AA consumers” and that “this could be an opportunity.”

Internal company documents revealed that J&J distributed Baby Powder samples at churches and beauty salons in African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods. J&J also ran digital and print promotions with Weight Watchers, as well as a $300,000 radio advertising campaign in specific markets that target “curvy Southern women 18-49 skewing African American.”

In 2008, J&J sent a message to prospective marketing agencies that said, “Johnson’s Baby Oil and Baby Powder products, while traditionally used only on babies, are today primarily consumed by adult AA women for use on themselves.” To address declining sales, J&J said the company needs to speak to “AA consumers with a more relevant message with the most effective media vehicles.”

Advertisements were placed in Weight Watchers magazine and promotions were held with Lane Bryant clothing to attract “curvy Southern women” to the product. A 2009 presentation discussing the “Powder media plan” said the marketing strategy would reach 31 million people “in the South (hot climates/overweight states),” and that “43% of the plan would focus on the top 10 overweight states in the nation.”

Have you or someone you know developed ovarian cancer after using cosmetic talc? If so, you should get in touch with our law firm to find out if you are eligible for financial compensation. Call (888) 398-2277 to schedule your free consultation.