Biore uses mass media to get personal

Who: Kao Canada’s Biore brand, with John St. for strategy and creative, and m/Six for media.

What: A new campaign for the skincare brand’s #Skinimalist platform that uses mass media to deliver highly personal messages about the most basic skincare routine: washing your face before going to bed.

When & Where: The ads are running on three digital billboards in Toronto and Mississauga from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. through Sunday, with YouTube creative running until late June.

Why: This is the second stage of a campaign to reach younger consumers that launched with social video late last year and introduced the hashtag #skinimalist.

The brand has been around for a long time and is well-known among older consumers who used it in their youth, said Cam Boyd, creative director at John St. However, skin care has become overly complicated for many Gen Z consumers accustomed to viewing complex skin care regimens by influencers, for example.

“They just weren’t connecting with the Gen Z market as well as they had [with younger consumers] in the past,” said Boyd. “We needed to do something to try and connect with that market better in a way that they speak.”

How #1: There are two distinct media plays to reach young consumers where they can likely be found just before bedtime during the pandemic: watching YouTube, or sitting in their condo or apartment and staring out the window. “[We wanted to] talk to them in a way that feels like it’s a Gen Z to Gen Z conversation, rather than a brand to Gen Z conversation,” said Boyd. “And a lot of that is tone of voice.”

John St. worked with m/Six to identify three billboards in neighbourhoods with a high number of condominiums and apartments with younger consumers. The John St. creative teams then dug into census data to figure out the names most likely to be in those condos or apartments. They came up with 25 names to create ads that seemed to speak directly to people with those names, with messages such as “Hey Rachel, it’s 8:46 PM. Plz wash ur face before bed.”

Even for those who didn’t see their name in the ads, the use of familiar names and the tone was likely to resonate with anyone reading the ads. “The text or vernacular short form that we’re using felt very much like friends conversing through text or DM, versus a billboard,” said Boyd.

How #2: The strategy for the videos was similar in that the messages would feel personal, but instead of using names, pre-roll ads reference the type of content the viewer is watching, using YouTube’s Vogon tool, which launched in 2016. For example, someone watching video game content might get a message reading “It’s late. Time to stop watching people terraform their islands. And start washing your face.”

“It was very much about contextually speaking to them in a way that they are used to conversing with a friend,” said Boyd.

And we quote: “Bioré skincare is all about embracing a ‘skinimalist’ lifestyle. And what’s more skinimalist than removing the day’s build-up from your pores before bed?”— Monique Milewska, brand manager for Bioré, Kao Canada.

David Brown