Johnson and Johnson "breaks into jail" with BabyCamp

When I worked at Microsoft the PR team had a saying they told me often: “don’t break into jail.”

In other words, don’t screw up a good thing. Or, don’t do something that’ll get you bad PR.

Which is just what Johnson and Johnson did over the past week.

They are throwing a “BabyCamp” for mommy bloggers. Sounds great, right?

But a couple of problems.

1. You can’t bring your baby. Dumb.
2. They scheduled it at the same time as BlogHer. Double dumb.
3. They disinvited a couple of bloggers, one who had a baby, and another who was speaking at Blogher. Triple dumb.

Maryam wraps up the mess and explains what’s going on now. I’m Maryam’s husband and she’s decided to go to BabyCamp with her mom, who’ll take care of Milan while she attends sessions and such (her mom did the same while Maryam worked at CES’s BlogHaus, it’s a real advantage to have someone like that).

Speaking of which, I hate saying “Maryam’s my wife.” Sounds like I own her or something. Truth is actually the reverse. :-)

Comments

  1. Could it be because Johnson and Johnson did a major sponsorship of BlogHer two years ago and now they’re not sponsoring them for some strange reason that caused them to attempt this failed event?

  2. Could it be because Johnson and Johnson did a major sponsorship of BlogHer two years ago and now they’re not sponsoring them for some strange reason that caused them to attempt this failed event?

  3. Could it be because Johnson and Johnson did a major sponsorship of BlogHer two years ago and now they’re not sponsoring them for some strange reason that caused them to attempt this failed event?

  4. Aido: they wanted to meet with mothers to get their feedback (and to tell them about some new initiatives). Sounds a lot like what we did at Microsoft with the Search Champs a few years ago.

  5. Aido: they wanted to meet with mothers to get their feedback (and to tell them about some new initiatives). Sounds a lot like what we did at Microsoft with the Search Champs a few years ago.

  6. Aido: they wanted to meet with mothers to get their feedback (and to tell them about some new initiatives). Sounds a lot like what we did at Microsoft with the Search Champs a few years ago.

  7. Johnson and Johnson? I thought they were the company that helps before the baby is actually made with all those gels and what not for foreplay? Guess they feel responsible for alot of the rugrats out there. hehehe.

  8. Johnson and Johnson? I thought they were the company that helps before the baby is actually made with all those gels and what not for foreplay? Guess they feel responsible for alot of the rugrats out there. hehehe.

  9. Johnson and Johnson? I thought they were the company that helps before the baby is actually made with all those gels and what not for foreplay? Guess they feel responsible for alot of the rugrats out there. hehehe.

  10. I got this email this morning:

    Camp Baby Attendees -
    Hi, my name is Lori Dolginoff and I’m organizing and planning the Camp Baby program for Johnson’s Baby. I wanted to personally reach out to you in response to what happened yesterday in the mommy blogosphere. What a learning process it has been for all of us.

    I thought it might be helpful to offer you a bit more background on why we created this program and what we hope to accomplish since we truly want to learn from you, while offering value as well.

    While we did initially speak to a few bloggers to get their feedback on everything from timing to the event itself, we set our goals as 1) developing real relationship with mommy bloggers to have a 2-way conversation and 2) to provide bloggers with news, information and… some fun.

    We tried our best to invite as many bloggers as possible using a variety of tools from Technorati, Google, blogrolls, Quancast, blog roundup posts as well as Johnson’s blogger relationships. As Camp Baby approached, we sent additional invitations from your recommendations as well. We realize this wasn’t a perfect process, but for a first event, we did the best possible job finding you all! And we are so glad we did.

    We have done our best to be honest in all our communications to be as equal and fair as possible. As with all events, registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and once we reached capacity, we had to stop accepting new people since we wanted the event to feel very intimate (and yes we did go over by 6!) . Additionally, because this is an event created for education and networking, we felt, that you could not take full advantage of the agenda, while caring for your children. This was probably the hardest call we made and certainly have learned a lot through this process. In the future, we will be much more overt about these decisions but we tried to communicate this as questions arose.

    Well, I hope this helps you to better understand our intentions. We are thrilled to be hosting all of you and really can’t wait to get better at this (hopefully sooner than later!) If the current chatter is any indication of your influence, Camp Baby is sure to be an experience to remember!

    Please know you can always reach out to us. We are listening, and learning and continue to value your community’s opinions and insights. Be on the lookout soon for a full schedule of activities planned. And please if you have any questions, reach out to me directly at ldolgino@cpcus.jnj.com.

    All my best,
    Lori
    ————

    Honestly, I kinda understand. It would be really difficult to provide childcare, and to be fair, they are BlogHer business OVERLAPS with BlogHer and I think the audience for the Business con might be different. I don’t know how they could be expected to know the specific situation about every mom coming – Julie is nursing, I will miss her and love her, but that would have been difficult to J&J to anticipate.

    They have been nothing but kind, seriously kind to me and you cannot please everyone all of the time. I am not saying they may not have done ALL of their homework but planning a conference is MOFO hard. I understand.

    /takes off rose coloured glasses now

  11. I got this email this morning:

    Camp Baby Attendees -
    Hi, my name is Lori Dolginoff and I’m organizing and planning the Camp Baby program for Johnson’s Baby. I wanted to personally reach out to you in response to what happened yesterday in the mommy blogosphere. What a learning process it has been for all of us.

    I thought it might be helpful to offer you a bit more background on why we created this program and what we hope to accomplish since we truly want to learn from you, while offering value as well.

    While we did initially speak to a few bloggers to get their feedback on everything from timing to the event itself, we set our goals as 1) developing real relationship with mommy bloggers to have a 2-way conversation and 2) to provide bloggers with news, information and… some fun.

    We tried our best to invite as many bloggers as possible using a variety of tools from Technorati, Google, blogrolls, Quancast, blog roundup posts as well as Johnson’s blogger relationships. As Camp Baby approached, we sent additional invitations from your recommendations as well. We realize this wasn’t a perfect process, but for a first event, we did the best possible job finding you all! And we are so glad we did.

    We have done our best to be honest in all our communications to be as equal and fair as possible. As with all events, registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and once we reached capacity, we had to stop accepting new people since we wanted the event to feel very intimate (and yes we did go over by 6!) . Additionally, because this is an event created for education and networking, we felt, that you could not take full advantage of the agenda, while caring for your children. This was probably the hardest call we made and certainly have learned a lot through this process. In the future, we will be much more overt about these decisions but we tried to communicate this as questions arose.

    Well, I hope this helps you to better understand our intentions. We are thrilled to be hosting all of you and really can’t wait to get better at this (hopefully sooner than later!) If the current chatter is any indication of your influence, Camp Baby is sure to be an experience to remember!

    Please know you can always reach out to us. We are listening, and learning and continue to value your community’s opinions and insights. Be on the lookout soon for a full schedule of activities planned. And please if you have any questions, reach out to me directly at ldolgino@cpcus.jnj.com.

    All my best,
    Lori
    ————

    Honestly, I kinda understand. It would be really difficult to provide childcare, and to be fair, they are BlogHer business OVERLAPS with BlogHer and I think the audience for the Business con might be different. I don’t know how they could be expected to know the specific situation about every mom coming – Julie is nursing, I will miss her and love her, but that would have been difficult to J&J to anticipate.

    They have been nothing but kind, seriously kind to me and you cannot please everyone all of the time. I am not saying they may not have done ALL of their homework but planning a conference is MOFO hard. I understand.

    /takes off rose coloured glasses now

  12. I got this email this morning:

    Camp Baby Attendees -
    Hi, my name is Lori Dolginoff and I’m organizing and planning the Camp Baby program for Johnson’s Baby. I wanted to personally reach out to you in response to what happened yesterday in the mommy blogosphere. What a learning process it has been for all of us.

    I thought it might be helpful to offer you a bit more background on why we created this program and what we hope to accomplish since we truly want to learn from you, while offering value as well.

    While we did initially speak to a few bloggers to get their feedback on everything from timing to the event itself, we set our goals as 1) developing real relationship with mommy bloggers to have a 2-way conversation and 2) to provide bloggers with news, information and… some fun.

    We tried our best to invite as many bloggers as possible using a variety of tools from Technorati, Google, blogrolls, Quancast, blog roundup posts as well as Johnson’s blogger relationships. As Camp Baby approached, we sent additional invitations from your recommendations as well. We realize this wasn’t a perfect process, but for a first event, we did the best possible job finding you all! And we are so glad we did.

    We have done our best to be honest in all our communications to be as equal and fair as possible. As with all events, registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and once we reached capacity, we had to stop accepting new people since we wanted the event to feel very intimate (and yes we did go over by 6!) . Additionally, because this is an event created for education and networking, we felt, that you could not take full advantage of the agenda, while caring for your children. This was probably the hardest call we made and certainly have learned a lot through this process. In the future, we will be much more overt about these decisions but we tried to communicate this as questions arose.

    Well, I hope this helps you to better understand our intentions. We are thrilled to be hosting all of you and really can’t wait to get better at this (hopefully sooner than later!) If the current chatter is any indication of your influence, Camp Baby is sure to be an experience to remember!

    Please know you can always reach out to us. We are listening, and learning and continue to value your community’s opinions and insights. Be on the lookout soon for a full schedule of activities planned. And please if you have any questions, reach out to me directly at ldolgino@cpcus.jnj.com.

    All my best,
    Lori
    ————

    Honestly, I kinda understand. It would be really difficult to provide childcare, and to be fair, they are BlogHer business OVERLAPS with BlogHer and I think the audience for the Business con might be different. I don’t know how they could be expected to know the specific situation about every mom coming – Julie is nursing, I will miss her and love her, but that would have been difficult to J&J to anticipate.

    They have been nothing but kind, seriously kind to me and you cannot please everyone all of the time. I am not saying they may not have done ALL of their homework but planning a conference is MOFO hard. I understand.

    /takes off rose coloured glasses now

  13. Perhaps Lori shouldn’t have admitted that they went over by 6 – now the bloggers who can’t attend will start asking, “Why didn’t you go over by 7 and let me in?” Still, it was a nice message.

    Alternatives to “she’s my wife”:
    - “She lets me share her life.”
    - “She tolerates me.”
    - “She gives me room and board privileges.”
    Or,
    - “I’m her husband.”

  14. Perhaps Lori shouldn’t have admitted that they went over by 6 – now the bloggers who can’t attend will start asking, “Why didn’t you go over by 7 and let me in?” Still, it was a nice message.

    Alternatives to “she’s my wife”:
    - “She lets me share her life.”
    - “She tolerates me.”
    - “She gives me room and board privileges.”
    Or,
    - “I’m her husband.”

  15. Perhaps Lori shouldn’t have admitted that they went over by 6 – now the bloggers who can’t attend will start asking, “Why didn’t you go over by 7 and let me in?” Still, it was a nice message.

    Alternatives to “she’s my wife”:
    - “She lets me share her life.”
    - “She tolerates me.”
    - “She gives me room and board privileges.”
    Or,
    - “I’m her husband.”

  16. Reading the email that JenB posted just confirms even more what I suspected… J&J doesn’t get that you can’t separate out the “Mommy” part of “Mommy Blogger” and expect a good response.

    If J&J has sponsored BlogHer previously, then they have to know that a major draw there is the fact that the organizers made sure child-care options were available and took no issue with babies in slings accompanying their mothers.

    If this is a “Moms-without-kids-along” event, that should’ve been made abundantly clear at the outset. They still would’ve ended up alienating some of their target market however – because many moms aren’t going to feel empowered by a conference that negates the reason they are part of the community.

    Agreeing with @oemperor here that saying “we went 6 over” makes those told “we have no room for you” wonder why they didn’t make the ‘exception cut’ – but it’s not terribly surprising to hear.

    I took absolutely no offense at not being invited or even hearing about it from J&J – as I doubt I’m really their target market… but I know more than one other Mommy Blogger who felt a bit of sting at not making the list.

    You’re right on this one Robert – they not only broke into jail – they’ve also started a prison riot.

    Off to read Maryam’s take on it.

  17. Reading the email that JenB posted just confirms even more what I suspected… J&J doesn’t get that you can’t separate out the “Mommy” part of “Mommy Blogger” and expect a good response.

    If J&J has sponsored BlogHer previously, then they have to know that a major draw there is the fact that the organizers made sure child-care options were available and took no issue with babies in slings accompanying their mothers.

    If this is a “Moms-without-kids-along” event, that should’ve been made abundantly clear at the outset. They still would’ve ended up alienating some of their target market however – because many moms aren’t going to feel empowered by a conference that negates the reason they are part of the community.

    Agreeing with @oemperor here that saying “we went 6 over” makes those told “we have no room for you” wonder why they didn’t make the ‘exception cut’ – but it’s not terribly surprising to hear.

    I took absolutely no offense at not being invited or even hearing about it from J&J – as I doubt I’m really their target market… but I know more than one other Mommy Blogger who felt a bit of sting at not making the list.

    You’re right on this one Robert – they not only broke into jail – they’ve also started a prison riot.

    Off to read Maryam’s take on it.

  18. Reading the email that JenB posted just confirms even more what I suspected… J&J doesn’t get that you can’t separate out the “Mommy” part of “Mommy Blogger” and expect a good response.

    If J&J has sponsored BlogHer previously, then they have to know that a major draw there is the fact that the organizers made sure child-care options were available and took no issue with babies in slings accompanying their mothers.

    If this is a “Moms-without-kids-along” event, that should’ve been made abundantly clear at the outset. They still would’ve ended up alienating some of their target market however – because many moms aren’t going to feel empowered by a conference that negates the reason they are part of the community.

    Agreeing with @oemperor here that saying “we went 6 over” makes those told “we have no room for you” wonder why they didn’t make the ‘exception cut’ – but it’s not terribly surprising to hear.

    I took absolutely no offense at not being invited or even hearing about it from J&J – as I doubt I’m really their target market… but I know more than one other Mommy Blogger who felt a bit of sting at not making the list.

    You’re right on this one Robert – they not only broke into jail – they’ve also started a prison riot.

    Off to read Maryam’s take on it.

  19. They have good intentions, but there were some things executed poorly.

    I kind of got dis-invited after they contacted me personally and told me I could get back to them with my reply (“Sure! That would be fine, don’t worry!”)and then they were full when I said I could come.

    I do understand first come first served, but I was given the impression that since they contacted me(as opposed to general invite)and I asked if I could get back to them since my husband was out of the country that they were waiting for my reply.

    I don’t envy their position, and, I’m glad they seem to be learning from the experience and I hope the conference goes well.

  20. They have good intentions, but there were some things executed poorly.

    I kind of got dis-invited after they contacted me personally and told me I could get back to them with my reply (“Sure! That would be fine, don’t worry!”)and then they were full when I said I could come.

    I do understand first come first served, but I was given the impression that since they contacted me(as opposed to general invite)and I asked if I could get back to them since my husband was out of the country that they were waiting for my reply.

    I don’t envy their position, and, I’m glad they seem to be learning from the experience and I hope the conference goes well.

  21. They have good intentions, but there were some things executed poorly.

    I kind of got dis-invited after they contacted me personally and told me I could get back to them with my reply (“Sure! That would be fine, don’t worry!”)and then they were full when I said I could come.

    I do understand first come first served, but I was given the impression that since they contacted me(as opposed to general invite)and I asked if I could get back to them since my husband was out of the country that they were waiting for my reply.

    I don’t envy their position, and, I’m glad they seem to be learning from the experience and I hope the conference goes well.

  22. I was invited too, but unfortunately couldn’t make it which I guess probably even if I could they would have not had room for me.

    I think what they are trying to do is a great move on their part and unfortunate they alienated some. Hopefully they will get it right the next time they do this…sure do hope there is a next time. It would have been great to meet Maryam.

    As far as how you refer to Maryam you could just say “she is the woman who chose to procreate with me.” :-)

  23. I was invited too, but unfortunately couldn’t make it which I guess probably even if I could they would have not had room for me.

    I think what they are trying to do is a great move on their part and unfortunate they alienated some. Hopefully they will get it right the next time they do this…sure do hope there is a next time. It would have been great to meet Maryam.

    As far as how you refer to Maryam you could just say “she is the woman who chose to procreate with me.” :-)

  24. I was invited too, but unfortunately couldn’t make it which I guess probably even if I could they would have not had room for me.

    I think what they are trying to do is a great move on their part and unfortunate they alienated some. Hopefully they will get it right the next time they do this…sure do hope there is a next time. It would have been great to meet Maryam.

    As far as how you refer to Maryam you could just say “she is the woman who chose to procreate with me.” :-)

  25. Dis-invited BlogHer speaker, here. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this. Planning conferences is hard, but this whole flap could have been avoided if J&J had stepped back for a second and took the time to get to know their target audience. I saw the opportunity as a teachable moment, which is why I blogged it. I think J&J had good intentions to start and have learned and will do it better next time, but this problem has been repeated over and over by big firms that think they can build relationships in a day. Or two. Or by throwing freebies at bloggers. They don’t get that relationship-building takes time. Time will tell if Baby Camp is a success.

  26. Dis-invited BlogHer speaker, here. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this. Planning conferences is hard, but this whole flap could have been avoided if J&J had stepped back for a second and took the time to get to know their target audience. I saw the opportunity as a teachable moment, which is why I blogged it. I think J&J had good intentions to start and have learned and will do it better next time, but this problem has been repeated over and over by big firms that think they can build relationships in a day. Or two. Or by throwing freebies at bloggers. They don’t get that relationship-building takes time. Time will tell if Baby Camp is a success.

  27. Dis-invited BlogHer speaker, here. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this. Planning conferences is hard, but this whole flap could have been avoided if J&J had stepped back for a second and took the time to get to know their target audience. I saw the opportunity as a teachable moment, which is why I blogged it. I think J&J had good intentions to start and have learned and will do it better next time, but this problem has been repeated over and over by big firms that think they can build relationships in a day. Or two. Or by throwing freebies at bloggers. They don’t get that relationship-building takes time. Time will tell if Baby Camp is a success.

  28. And I’m the dis-invited nursing mother of the newborn. I agree with Jason’s comment above – there’s a lot of opportunity for education where it comes to social media and blogger outreach. Having worked with other firms who seem intent on repeating their mistakes, I have to applaud J&J for their willingness to learn from this debacle.

  29. And I’m the dis-invited nursing mother of the newborn. I agree with Jason’s comment above – there’s a lot of opportunity for education where it comes to social media and blogger outreach. Having worked with other firms who seem intent on repeating their mistakes, I have to applaud J&J for their willingness to learn from this debacle.

  30. And I’m the dis-invited nursing mother of the newborn. I agree with Jason’s comment above – there’s a lot of opportunity for education where it comes to social media and blogger outreach. Having worked with other firms who seem intent on repeating their mistakes, I have to applaud J&J for their willingness to learn from this debacle.

  31. The bloggers complaining are the least of J&J’s issues; here the brand is trying to position itself as one that gets moms, while throwing an event that does the very opposite.

    I know Christopher thinks he’s oh so clever and cynical here (yawn), but imagine a tech conference with no computers. Imagine an AARP conference with no chairs. A mom conference–held on weekdays by the way–with no childcare or provisions for infants is simply bizarre.

  32. The bloggers complaining are the least of J&J’s issues; here the brand is trying to position itself as one that gets moms, while throwing an event that does the very opposite.

    I know Christopher thinks he’s oh so clever and cynical here (yawn), but imagine a tech conference with no computers. Imagine an AARP conference with no chairs. A mom conference–held on weekdays by the way–with no childcare or provisions for infants is simply bizarre.

  33. The bloggers complaining are the least of J&J’s issues; here the brand is trying to position itself as one that gets moms, while throwing an event that does the very opposite.

    I know Christopher thinks he’s oh so clever and cynical here (yawn), but imagine a tech conference with no computers. Imagine an AARP conference with no chairs. A mom conference–held on weekdays by the way–with no childcare or provisions for infants is simply bizarre.

  34. My name is Ebonie Bullard & I am a student doing a class project on industries that are best in class. Would you know of any names of other bloggers that may know any productivity improvement that the JNJ company may be pursuing, along with other important aspects(such as est. costs of project & completion times)?

  35. My name is Ebonie Bullard & I am a student doing a class project on industries that are best in class. Would you know of any names of other bloggers that may know any productivity improvement that the JNJ company may be pursuing, along with other important aspects(such as est. costs of project & completion times)?

  36. My name is Ebonie Bullard & I am a student doing a class project on industries that are best in class. Would you know of any names of other bloggers that may know any productivity improvement that the JNJ company may be pursuing, along with other important aspects(such as est. costs of project & completion times)?