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Caring & Giving

The Story Behind BAND-AID® Brand OURTONE™ Adhesive Bandages

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The launch of the new OURTONE™ strips, which come in three brown shades, means more bandage options for communities of color—and scholarship support for Black nursing students.
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It was a century ago this year that BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages were invented. And they continue to make history. The latest addition to the iconic brand’s product line? OURTONE™ bandages, which come in three distinct shades of brown to help ensure that Black people and other people of color have more options in the first-aid aisle.

And the shade of the strips is just a small part of Johnson & Johnson's commitment to communities of color. The company is supporting many initiatives, including Our Race to Health Equity, which aims to help eradicate racial and social injustice as a public health threat by helping to eliminate health inequities for people of color.

Now that the bandages are available to buy in stores and online, we spoke to key players behind the brand’s launch to get the background on the product’s development—and how Johnson & Johnson is using OURTONE™ as a platform to support the next generation of Black healthcare providers.

Take a look at OURTONETM and its range of shades and learn where you can buy the bandages online or in stores.

1.

Developing a Product People Would be Proud to Wear

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"It's no secret that the current climate is extremely polarizing and, as a result, certain people feel left out of the conversation. Now more than ever, it's important that brands like Johnson & Johnson take a leadership role in demonstrating the importance of diversity," says Joe Anthony, Chief Executive Officer of Hero Collective—a Black-owned, culture-driven creative and digital agency that Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health (JJCH) engaged to help shape the launch of OURTONE™ in a way that would not only live up to the quality associated with the original BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages but would also help marginalized groups feel seen, represented and valued.

Consumer insights were instrumental in developing a bandage the target demographic would be proud to wear—one that not only blended better with their skin but was also the high quality that they expected from BAND-AID® Brand.

To that end, JJCH held a series of focus groups with people from the Black community, who shared invaluable insights into what they expected, what they wanted and what they didn't when it came to the bandage's name, packaging and even the materials and shades that were chosen.

“The key theme that came up again and again in our research was quality,” says Tara Brooks, Associate Director, Consumer Business Intelligence at Johnson & Johnson. “In selecting the material for OURTONE™, we wanted to be sure consumers knew that there wouldn’t be any trade-offs with this bandage. Flexible fabric is our most popular material, offering comfortable protection that stretches and flexes as you move, and therefore was the perfect option."

Out of those sessions also emerged OURTONE™: "a brand name that is about evoking a sense of ownership,” Anthony says. “This is about OUR Skin, OUR Stories, OUR History, OUR Future, OUR Families."

2.

A Mission to Make Brown Bandages Accessible—and Quickly

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Though OURTONE™ had been in the works for some time, last spring's country-wide outcry for racial and social justice spurred an accelerated production timeline. Normally, it takes 16 to 24 months to bring a new product into the BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages line. OURTONE™ was developed for market in just nine.

And while designing new packaging and securing a new brand trademark can take more than eight weeks, together with Hero Collective and other company partners, BAND-AID® Brand was able to complete both tasks in just three.

"We agreed that as the category leader, we had a major product gap and wanted to solve for this as quickly as possible, ensuring that we better reflected the communities we serve," shares Jordan Mojka, Associate Brand Manager, Wound Care at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. "It was all hands on deck. The entire team's passion for this was incredible."

3.

Giving Back Through the Gift of Bandages

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In conjunction with the OURTONE™ launch, BAND-AID® Brand has been connecting with faith-based organizations, community centers and not-for-profits that are implementing local health and social initiatives for Black people in particular.

Those include the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), whose local chapters provided samples of the new bandages at a health-related event, and the National Association for Community Health Centers, which will provide free samples to local community health centers across the U.S. through the nonprofit Direct Relief.

“Thus far, we have made commitments to provide more than 200,000 OURTONE™ boxes at no cost to these amazing organizations,” says Mojka. “We want to provide them and their members the opportunity to live into our goal to make OURTONE™ accessible to all.”

4.

Supporting the Healthcare Professionals Who Need it Most

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As part of the OURTONE™ launch, BAND-AID® Brand is partnering with the NBNA and the Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association (FNSNA) and will award scholarship funding to Black nursing students through multi-year commitments with both organizations. That work kicked off this past spring, when students across three historically black colleges and universities were awarded funding.

Black Registered Nurses (RNs) make up just 7.8% of the 4 million RNs in the U.S., and in the last 50 years, the Black RN population has only grown by 4.6%, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.

"Financial assistance through scholarships will provide Black nursing students the ability to focus more on academics by reducing the burden of working full- or part-time to support themselves—and supporting Black undergraduate nursing students will add value to building a culturally competent nursing workforce as well as provide quality healthcare to our growing diverse population in the U.S.," says Shirley A. Quarles, EdD, RN, FAAN and FNSNA Trustee.

Adds Martha A. Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE, president of the NBNA: "The BAND-AID® Brand scholarships are an excellent example of the importance of ensuring our children see representation within the profession of nursing that looks like them."

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