Commentary

Biore Tries Too Hard With '#StripwithBiore Challenge'

I’m a big fan of effort. I enjoy working hard and doing things remotely passably half-well; I enjoy watching other people do the same. Sweat! Sweat is great. It shows character and robust gland functionality. Effort and the sweat generated therefrom - these are the most archetypically American of virtues. Did John Mellencamp write a song about this? I’m almost certain he wrote a song about this.

But while I appreciate effort in all its strainy guises, I draw the line at overexertion. In sales presentations as in recess kickball, trying too hard reflects badly on the over-trier. Giving 100 percent is enough; giving 110 percent or more isn’t just mathematically impossible, it’s hard to watch. A recent Pew Research Internet Poll-Taking Pollsters poll found that a majority of all audible eeshing and visible-from-afar wince-inducement stems from observing others in the act of striving like an eagle.

I bring this up because Bioré’s latest push behind its pore-gunk-suction strips, the “#StripwithBiore Challenge,” tries so, so, so hard. The brand has been inserting the ever-so-whimsical double entendre of a hashtag into sponsored-tweet rotations with an abandon that borders on recklessness. And in the first video associated with the campaign, it overexerts professional-contortionist-style to make actress Brittany Snow happen.

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Hasn’t Brittany Snow already happened? She was in Nip/Tuck and Pitch Perfect. That’s two career pillars right there. Re-presenting her here as a quirkily adorable, adorably quirky homebody would seem to stretch the definition of ingenue-ity.

Nonetheless, Snow is as game as the clip’s concept requires her to be. At its outset, she gets out of bed, washes her face and applies one of the Bioré strips. Actually, no - she doesn’t just apply the strip; rather, she gazes pensively at the box, says, “Hmmm, charcoal” and ably enunciates the quick-hit product talking points (“unclogs pores in just ten minutes”). Then she sets a super-cute penguin timer for ten minutes…. aaaaaaaand we’re off to the races.

In the 100 seconds that follow, Snow giggles and makes frowny faces. She constructs a marvel of a sheet fortress/tent for her adorable doggie. She invests the ordering of a pizza with the kind of hysterical micromanagement unique to sitcom depictions of comely, distracted young urbanites.

She references “cruelty-free” pineapple and The Bachelor. She blends a cupcake into an otherwise leafy smoothie. She pokes at a Jell-O mold and is transfixed by its jiggle. She calls Taylor Swift and makes a "Shake It Off" joke. She does pushups with the dog on her back. She plays with one of those ball-paddle toy doohickeys. She cloaks herself in toilet paper and plods around the house mummy-style.

The doggie sheet fortress/tent collapses around her. She says, “Aw, sheet.” Remind me again: who is responsible for enforcing violations of the Geneva Conventions?

The clip is somehow even more exhausting to watch than it is to recap, especially since all these activities are cross-cut in a manner suggesting that its editors downed a fistful of amphetamines before going about their business. When the timer finally goes off, Snow pulls off the strip and winces as she eyes the results. We don’t get to see the money shot (i.e., a glimpse at what the strip has extracted). That I was disappointed by this artistic decision says more about me than it does about the nice Bioré people.

I have no idea how to activate the young and meticulously derma-conscious consumers that Bioré appears to be after, because I’m old and brazenly derma-apathetic. But I have to think that any/all target audiences not under the influence of Red Bull would be put off by the relentlessness of activity here; the clip borders on the manic. The best advice to everyone involved can be best conveyed in four words: Chill the eff out.

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