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Consumers Trust Family Business Products

SC Johnson & Son, Inc., the household products leader that promotes itself as “A Family Company,” is putting a face to its name with a new ad series featuring corporate patriarch, Samuel C. Johnson. The campaign marks the first time a member of the family that sells such well known brands as Glade ®, Pledge ®, Raid ®, Windex ® and Ziploc ® has gone public in its advertising.

The ads are the centerpiece of the company’s $450 million global advertising campaign. It threads together its lineup of consumer brands with the tagline “SC Johnson, A Family Company.” The new corporate effort was launched in November on network and cable channels. The series features Mr. Johnson, chairman emeritus of the 115-year-old company, speaking candidly about the core values responsible for his company’s five generations of success.

The first spot, “Innovation,” features the man known affectionately as “Sam” speaking face-to-face with his consumers about the company’s long history of product development and improvements. Other spots to follow will reflect the company’s commitment to quality, the environment and family values. The common theme that runs throughout the campaign is the inherent strength and advantage of being family-owned and operated.

“Our research found that family ownership was a tremendous asset,” said Mark Pacchini, Worldwide Account Director of Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, the advertising agency responsible for the new campaign. “For most people, family ownership means that there is a family they can trust standing behind the products.”

According to that research, Americans prefer products from family-owned companies to those from publicly-held corporations by a wide margin. More than 80 percent believe that family companies make products they can trust versus 43 percent for publicly-traded companies. Others perceived family-company products to be of higher quality.

To reinforce these attitudes, SC Johnson created the new campaign using Sam Johnson to tell the family company’s story. According to Johnson: “A great family business, no matter its size, has to be more than a financial investment. To survive long term it has to be a social positive for the employees, a benefit for the community, a passion for future generations of the family, and committed to earning the goodwill of the consumer everyday.”

Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, the former wax company expanded from a single enterprise with $171 million in annual sales to four thriving businesses with total combined sales of over $6 billion, operating in nearly 70 countries on six continents. The senior Johnson has turned the day-to-day reins over to three of his four children. Dr. H. Fisk Johnson is chairman of SC Johnson, S. Curtis Johnson (Curt) leads SC Johnson Commercial Markets and Helen Johnson-Leipold is head of Johnson Outdoors, Inc. Winifred (Johnson) Marquart is a director of Johnson International, Inc. a global financial services business.

To learn more about SC Johnson, log onto and click on the “online press room” link to obtain media-related information, including downloadable interviews. Also see The Family Business Advisor, March 2000, for a three part series on SC Johnson & Son, Inc.




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