Parents aren’t babies, and “cute” isn't a brand strategy

Parents aren’t babies, and “Cute” isn’t a brand strategy

I continue to be amazed at The Dieline. It has obviously become an indispensable resource for the design and marketing communities.  But this post on, containing ideas from a Peruvian designer is really disturbing, let me count the ways.

First let’s start with full disclosure. We will be forever thankful that Johnson & Johnson was one of our founding clients when our New York office opened its doors in 1993. So we know a bit about this brand. In fact we designed the current global Johnson & Johnson baby packaging system.

1. First and most importantly, this is an iconic global brand. It has a strong visual equity. You don’t mess with this equity with silly illustrations, or amateurish logo typography on a brand with billions of dollars in annual sales.

2. Decoration, purely for its own sake, is not a brand strategy.

3. Parents buy baby stuff, not babies. It has been proven that they don’t necessarily, or instinctively, respond to visuals that are intended to be “babyish”.

4. This brand should not be trivialized by “cute”. Making an investment in an illustration style on an iconic brand like this is a significant risk, it becomes a reflection of the brand. The symbiotic relationship between brand and support visuals is key and must be weighed very carefully.

5. And what’s with that horrendous piece of logo typography?

Lastly and most importantly, featuring this kind of project on trivializes their brand, cheapens the work of the brand marketers at Johnson & Johnson, weakens the importance of real strategic design thinking on iconic consumer brands, and just feels dirty.