Could Biore’s influencer backlash have been avoided?

Posted by Elijah Pysyk • Jun 8, 2023 3:06:34 PM

Last week, skin-care brand Biore issued an apology after a campaign for Mental Health Awareness month went awry. The backlash comes from a video by influencer Cecilee Max-Brown describing her anxiety and terror that February’s shooting at the university had caused her.

“Life has thrown countless obstacles at me this year, from a school shooting to having no idea what life is going to look like after college,” she said in the now deleted TikTok video. “In support of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m partnering with Bioré Skincare to strip away the stigma of anxiety.”

Both the brand and Max-Brown have issued apologies for the post.

What Went Wrong and How Could This Have Been Avoided?

My first instinct is to say this scenario underscores a significant hurdle within our industry, namely, effective communication. It is imperative for marketers to diligently convey their brand values to the entire team, ensuring a shared understanding of what content may be deemed unsuitable or incongruous. Likewise, creators should proactively collaborate with marketers by submitting their videos for review prior to uploading them onto their respective accounts.

However, Biore had indeed reviewed and approved the content. So I approached my colleague and founder of BSI Neal Thurman for his take.

“I agree that this is a great case study in the need for better communication but the underlying issue isn’t suitability (the campaign was focused on mental health) which anxiety related to the MSU shooting falls into. The biggest pitfall was how quickly the conversation pivoted from that sensitive topic to promoting Biore. They tried to do so much in such a short video. The margins are that fine between doing exactly what the campaign is supposed to be doing and creating content that gets attention for the wrong reasons.”

Couldn’t agree more Neal, thank you for your take.

A solution?

A few possible solutions could be instead of one short piece of content creating a series of posts or one longform piece of content to make the sponsorship less jarring.

Moving Forward.

It's important to remember, consumers are going to react in ways that feel right to them no matter what your brand's intent is. So keep making marketing choices with good intent and be ready to react when things go awry.

Topics: Influencer Marketing, Brand Suitability, Social Media