J&J hit for featuring gays in its ad on changing face of modern US families

Johnson & Johnson has drawn criticism for its new marketing campaign for its pain-killer medicine, Tylenol.Reuters

A group that advocates morality and conservatism in the American mainstream media has warned Johnson & Johnson (J&J) that it would regret the new marketing campaign it recently launched for its pain-killer medicine, Tylenol.

Monica Cole, director of American Family Association's OneMillionMom initiative, said J&J should have come up with another campaign advertising the quality of its products instead of trying to "change the face of the American family" with its new pro-gay commercial.

"Companies should advertise the quality of their products, or in this case, how and when to take a medication and why it works," Cole said in an opinion article that came out in Charisma News last week.

"They should not be highlighting who is attracted to whom or who sleeps with whom. This is a marketing decision Tylenol will regret," she added, referring to Tylenol's new TV commercial featuring a lesbian couple and two gay dads.

In the first 30-second TV ad for its #HowWeFamily campaign, Tylenol featured the gay couples among 10 of the real-life American families in a "docu-short" about the changing face of modern families in the US.

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The question "When did you first fight to be considered a family?" appears on the ad before shots of a lesbian couple, a mixed race couple, and two gay men doting over a baby are shown. It ends with a voiceover saying: "Family isn't defined by who you love, but how."

"Tylenol is glorifying all modern family types by stating a family is based on love not traditional marriage, and then showing gay couples with their children. One Million Moms believes family is based on love, but this does not justify normalising sin," Cole said in her Charisma News piece.

The OneMillionMom director also noted that Tylenol recently used an image of a lesbian couple facing each other nose to nose in a printed magazine ad in June.

"This gay-inclusive commercial is attempting to desensitise viewers. There is concern about the way this ad is pushing the LGBT agenda, but an even greater concern is the way that they are attempting to redefine family," she said.

In defence of the ad, Manoj Raghunandanan, senior director of marketing for J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare, said the new campaign was based on a national survey on family and aims to celebrate the diversity of modern families.

"Because we're a family brand, because we're an iconic American brand, and we want to continue to serve families in the future, I think it's important that we reflect what that family is today," said Raghunandanan, according to Huffington Post.

J&J first challenged the traditional perceptions of the American family in an ad last year when it juxtaposed the all-white family theme of Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving painting "Freedom from Want" with non-white families and same-sex parents, CNN Money said.

"This sort of thing is unusual for large mainstream corporations, but not unprecedented. General Mills (GIS) shook things up in 2013 with a Cheerios commercial depicting a mixed race family," CNN Money said.

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