The band aid

Innovation Report

The Band Aid

The Band Aid is an innovative invention discovered in the 1920s (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, 2008-2009). It underwent a lot of development to be the product it is today, with a large customer influence as it has implemented its brand as a propriety eponym. With this significant market importance and in addition its interesting innovative state, it is a good product to undergo my report on. Following this is a stakeholder analysis which flows into an analysis of how I believe the company undertook tackling the development of it's innovation.

The adhesive bandage, or now more commonly known under it?s trademarked, commercial name, The Band Aid, is a innovative invention discovered by Earle Dickinson in the 1920s (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, 2008-2009). It was developed from the original bandaging methods used during the 1920s on accident as the developer, Earle Dickinson, was attempting to find a more durable and easily accessible plaster for those injured; in his case, his wife (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, 2008-2009). The concept itself was to put pieces of gauze on a tape at intervals and covered with crinoline, and when required, can be cut and utilized. This led to the invention of a Band Aid. Earle?s employer, Johnson and Johnsons commercialised the product and made Earle vice president (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, 2008-2009).

According to Johnson and Johnson Incorporation (History of Innovation, 2008-2009) the initial introduction into the market was poor and only resulted in sales of $3000 US Dollars, this mainly due to the size of the Band Aid. In order to promote the product and introduce an extension strategy the company provided free Band Aids to Boy Scouts nationwide, which incurred increased brand awareness, followed by customer loyalty and thus increasing market success (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000). By 1924 the size of the Band Aid no longer posed as a limiting factor as the increase in sales allowed for machinery to be used, which allowed for Johnson and Johnson?s to produce different sized Band Aids, which increased Johnson and Johnson?s product range (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000). Also, in the same year the company had also provided Band Aids to soldiers in the war effort (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, History of Innovation, 2008-2009), which also could have led to a positive brand image of nationalistic values.

With the introduction of machinery and then later in 1938 when the first completely sterile Band Aids were produced (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, History of Innovation, 2008-2009), Johnson and Johnsons continued to develop this product by transforming the strips into plastic in 1951, decorated strips in 1956, clear strips in 1957 and vinyl in 1958 (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, History of Innovation, 2008-2009). This quick and rapid change to the market was ideal for Johnson and Johnsons as this was the time that competitors started to catch on as the invention of epoxy and resin was introduced and this market was identified as a profitable one (Hempel, n.d.).

For Johnson and Johnsons the innovation and development of the product using a gradual method was done throughout 1994 to 2007, these included Band Aids for sports, and then later with integrated antibiotics to further prevent infection (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, History of Innovation, 2008-2009). To this date Band Aid holds the prosperity eponym for adhesive bandages in United States and Canada as well as other western countries, which outlines its clear market significance.

Looking at the invention and development of the Band Aid from a theoretical perspective, we can conclude that Johnson and Johnsons have continuously made a gradual change to the basic, non-adhesive bandage. Therefore we can say that the new, innovative product, the Band Aid, is closely related to the previous product the basic non-adhesive bandage. This gradual development and change to the first original product was intended for increasing convenience to the end user and hence has done so.

Further looking at this from a theoretical perspective, we can conduct a stakeholder analysis in the introduction of this product into the market. The key stakeholders in the release of the product into the market are; the customers and Johnson and Johnsons.

Jonhson and Johnson need to provide a product that will properly satisfy the customers needs. At first Johnson and Johnsons were not able to do that with the low sales and oversized bandages, however once taking the customers interest in hand and providing the product to the right people the company was able to increase market share. This in turn improved the shareholders satisfaction with the product. In the next few paragraphs I will describe my views on the business decisions of Johnson and Johnsons regarding the Band Aid and look at how the stakeholders are affected.

Critically analysing Johnson and Johnson?s business decisions, I believe that the innovative product that is the Band Aid was successful, however had some negatives as well. The initial initiation into the market was clever, however perhaps rather rushed, as the business did not examine what the market required and also did not present the product in a practical manner. The product was impractical because of its large size, as I mentioned before, and they company did not consider the full implications and uses of the product before issuing it into the market.

A wise decision made my Johnson and Johnsons and the Band Aid team was the distribution of Band Aids to the Scouts. This allowed for increased product awareness and knowledge of the utility of the product to become more widespread. With this move Johnson and Johnsons presented that they understood who this product was targeted for and clearly identified and approached the problem in a logical manner. The products were best suited for those who hurt themselves often, and needed to quickly cover their wound; hence Boy Scouts.

With the improvement in the product range, which was also a wise decision on the company?s part, as wounds come in all sizes and also provided to the soldiers. Once again this showed both patriotism and a wise understanding in the purpose of the product. Targeting these members of the market will allow for them to use these products at home, out of habit and convenience, which in turn encourages members of those households to use it, increasing market share.

The development of the product had encouraged majority of the United States and Canada to purchase these products as a household first aid staple. Which on the company?s part is very good. These business decisions have led to the product being a success despite the many competitors that have now emerged into the market. The Band Aid is a successful innovative invention.

To conclude, the initial development and progression of the Band Aid?s development went through a lot of change and market understanding before it was able to take of as a successful product in the market. With a stakeholder analysis, and my own analysis I was able to conclude that the Band Aid is a victorious invention that has increasingly grown popular and become a staple in many American homes.


Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. (2008-2009). Brand Heritage. Available: Last accessed 1st November 2009.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. (2008-2009). History of Innovation. Available: Last accessed 1st November 2009.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology . (2000). Inventor of the Week Archive - Earle Dickson. Available: Last accessed 1st November 2009.

Hempel. (n.d.). Epoxy History. Available: Last accessed 1st Novemeber 2009.

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