J&J looking to expand in China, Europe as Olympics sponsor
TRENTON, N.J. – Health care giant Johnson & Johnson, looking to boost its profile and product sales in China and Eastern Europe, is becoming a major sponsor for the next two Olympic Games.The maker of Band-Aids, Tylenol, surgical supplies and prescription drugs has signed up as an official partner of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the official health care products sponsor of both the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, and the United States Olympic Committee.New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson also is negotiating to be the health care products partner of more than 20 other national Olympic teams.J&J already is the largest multinational health care company in China, with 3,000 employees in manufacturing plants, research and development, and sales, marketing and finance, Brian Perkins, vice president of corporate affairs, said Wednesday.”We’ve had very good business results here and we think the games are going to take us to another level,” Perkins said in a telephone interview from Beijing, where the sponsorships were announced Tuesday.Johnson & Johnson’s sales growth in China, the world’s most populous country with 1.3 billion people, already outpaces the rest of the health care market there. Perkins expects the Olympics exposure will accelerate it further.Perkins said the country is going all out to show the world its capabilities, making the games a social and political event as well as a sports spectacular. He expects 4 billion people to watch the games, scheduled for Aug. 4 through 24, 2008.”Given the ultra-competitive health care category, what Johnson & Johnson has done is aligned itself with the world’s most credible sports brand,” said Scott Becher, president of Sports & Sponsorships in Hollywood, Fla., which helps companies set up sponsorship deals.Johnson & Johnson would not say what it is paying for the sponsorships, which give it the right to use the five-ring Olympic logo and the host country logos for the games in its marketing. It will not be one of The Olympic Partner, or TOP, program sponsors with the International Olympic Committee; they generally pay tens of millions of dollars.IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said that for recent games the committee has been doing bigger deals with fewer companies under the TOP program, which generated $494 million for the Salt Lake City games in 2002 and $302 million for the Athens games last year.Perkins said the sponsorships will include supplying Johnson & Johnson consumer health products, such as bandages and pain relievers, at the games and to Olympic athletes in training. During the Beijing games, it also may provide some of its prescription medicines, which include narcotic painkillers and antibiotics.As a partner in Beijing, the company also plans to help that country improve its health care infrastructure in preparation for the games.The Turin sponsorship targets not just Italy, where J&J has been known for decades and has multiple plants and offices, but Russia and developing nations in Eastern Europe, where the company’s business “is developing very nicely,” Perkins said.One reason for targeting the games in Europe and Asia is that Johnson & Johnson’s revenue growth oversees, 13.4 percent in the quarter just ended, now is more than double the 6 percent rate in the United States.The company could not provide revenue figures for individual countries but said 2004 sales totaled $11.1 billion in Europe and $5.8 billion in its Asia Pacific and Africa segment. It has about $50 billion in total annual sales.