Band-Aid joins competitors in effort to diversity its product line.
Band-Aid has come up with a way to respond to the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement. A new product line was recently launched to include a range of skin tones.
“We hear you. We see you. We’re listening to you,” the company wrote on social media. “We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, collaborators and community in the fight against racism, violence and injustice. We are committed to taking actions to create tangible change for the Black community.”
The bandages will come in shades of brown and black tones and are meant to reflect the diversity of Band-Aids employees and its customers. The move follows in the footsteps of Tru-Colour, a company started in 2014 by a white man, Toby Meisenheimer, who had adopted a black son and wanted to “affirm and celebrate his son’s identity.” For the past several years, Tru-Colour has provided skin tone shaded bandages and kinesiology tape, which can be found nationwide at Target stores.
In response to Band-Aid’s campaign, Tru-Colour posted on Instagram, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, & we are encouraged to see other corporations jump into this market. Since 2014, we have been dedicated to diversity in healing, believing in the beauty of who you are. #skintones #diversity #diversityismorethanatrend.”
There have been other efforts to make bandages more inclusive. In 2018, a Black Muslim family also launched a line of multitone bandages called Browndages. Co-founder Intisar Bashir said she and husband Rashid Mahdi reportedly launched the brand “without concerns about industry saturation.”
Browndages were initially designed for children with each case featuring a group of kids dressed for the careers they aspire to go into. The same illustrations can be found on the Browndages themselves. The company has since developed an adult line as well and sells other products on its site including pajama sets featuring career-oriented characters and books.
“We are a small family owned operation,” reads the company’s site. “Browndages was the idea of a husband and wife duo, who were simply trying to fill a void they saw within their own family.”
Along with Band-Aid’s new product line, the company also announced it would be donating $100,000 to Black Lives Matter. “We promise that this is just the first among many steps together in the fight against systemic racism,” it wrote on its social. “We can, we must, and we will do better.”
“Band-Aid is dedicated to inclusivity and providing the best healing solutions in colors that recognize a range of skin tones,” said Megan Koehler, communications leader at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health. “We’ve made a commitment to launch a range of bandages in light, medium, and deep shades of brown and black skin tones.”
When the product first went viral, however, many of Band-Aid’s followers were either offended by the new line or felt it really wasn’t an impactful step. Some comments to the company’s Instagram post included unflattering statement such as, “They make clear bandaids. Use those.” and “Band-aids don’t help much with gunshot wounds.” With other products already on the market, many felt this was simply a way to take advantage of the current climate, doing “too little, too late” to turn a profit.