So begins another installment in a series of terrifying, guilt-inducing advertisements that the Johnson & Johnson company ran in national magazines in the 1940s. And boy, did they lay it on.
Just look at the image: A young boy — on crutches! — stares wistfully at a dusty bicycle in a garage. The caption reads: “AND NOW THERE IS A BICYCLE FOR SALE.” My goodness, what has happened here? Why won’t he ever ride it again, you wonder?
Very simple. Because his parents foolishly, stupidly, and carelessly forgot to use Johnson & Johnson bandages. Read on:
“For the rest of his life, he must pay the penalty for something that needn’t have happened. He merely cut his foot — just as thousands of active boys do. And his mother bandaged it, lovingly, as has been the way of mothers since the world began.
“The bandage looked clean, too. But it wasn’t. And infection set in and spread . . . infection that crippled.
“It just doesn’t pay to take chances in dressing the tiniest cut or wound. Every precaution must be taken. Even some bandages, though they come in boxes plainly marked ’sterilized,’ may not be worthy of your trust. For such bandages may be sterilized only in an early manufacturing process. Later, when they are cut and packed, their cleanliness may be destroyed in handling.
“Be safe. Be sure. Use only the first-aid products of responsible concerns. Johnson & Johnson is one of them.”
Well, thanks for telling us all that now, Johnson & Johnson. But it’s too late to help the poor kid on crutches, who will “never ride a bicycle again.”
Here’s the entire ad, from a 1940s issue of Good Housekeeping magazine: