The Miss America pageant was on Sunday, September 13. As you may have heard by now, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, delivered an original monologue about being a nurse to Alzheimer’s patients as her talent portion of the competition.
The next day on The View, hosts Joy Behar and Michelle Collins discussed the pageant, and took issue with Johnson’s monologue and questioned why she was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Social media erupted in support of the nursing profession, with the hashtag #NursesUnite being used almost 40,000 times in just five days.
It took until Wednesday’s broadcast for the hosts to make an apology in which Collins said her comments were “misconstrued.” She stated that was talking about the idea of presenting a monologue for the talent competition and not the profession of nursing itself. The tone of the apology didn’t seem to resonate with many viewers. After all, it can be hard to take an apology sincerely when it is awkward, seemingly forced, and seeks to affix the blame on those who didn’t understand the comment. As a result, Behar and Collins came off as less than truly contrite.
When they invited nurses to Friday’s show to explain what they do and the training that goes into being a nurse, nurses and friends and family of nurses were not appeased. They again took to social media to show their displeasure.
Advertisers took notice, too. Two sponsors, Eggland’s Best Eggs and Johnson & Johnson, dropped their support of the show, at least temporarily. Both companies voiced their appreciation for the nursing profession and their disagreement with the hosts’ comments as the main reasons for their action. Johnson & Johnson took things one step further, announcing a new donation drive for nursing scholarships.
This was a great move for the Johnson & Johnson brand. It is so closely tied to healthcare and images of caring that the move served to reinforce consumer connections with extensive product lines of personal and professional healthcare products – from BAND-AID® bandages and Tylenol® to medical devices for cardiovascular disease and diabetes care.
The View’s brand, on the other hand, is still facing challenges. While this incident surely won’t spell the immediate end of the show, it certainly doesn’t help at a time of struggling ratings and a revolving door of hosts.
In the end, the people who will benefit from this fray are Miss Colorado, who likely got far more media attention than most second-runners up; Johnson & Johnson and Eggland’s Best for finding a way to differentiate their brands; and for the profession of nursing as a whole, which received a lot of well-deserved and seldom-received attention, thanks, and respect.
Melissa Arnoff is a Senior Vice President at LEVICK and a contributing author to LEVICK Daily.