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Jeff mccurrach, director of marketing for Biore and new-business development for Andrew Jergens Co., was no stranger to competing in crowded markets when he joined the company in 1996.

With 11 years of marketing under his belt at Quaker Oats Co., for brands like Gatorade, Mr. McCurrach, 40, knew it would take more than a pretty spokeswoman to thrust Jergens -- a company known for its body care line -- into facial skincare against competition such as Procter & Gamble Co.'s Oil of Olay and L'Oreal Plenitude. Jergens, a division of Kao Corp. of America, launched Biore Pore Perfect into the U.S. market with a budget of between $20 million and $30 million.

The line's star product is the Biore Pore Perfect strip, an item likened to a leg wax for facial pores. TV commercials and print ads got right down to the nitty-gritty of showing how the strip pulls out blackheads.

Prior to the launch, Mr. McCurrach and his team pored over research revealing American women were tired of pitches from beautiful women. Instead, they want realism.

"We weren't just giving hope in a bottle. We had a state-of-the-art product and we demonstrated the results," says Mr. McCurrach. "The first reaction is `Oh, that's gross.' Then people realize they can really get their face clean."

To help retailers, Mr. McCurrach's team developed a demonstration kit that could be used in buyers' offices. Retailers and consumers latched onto the concept and so did consumers. Biore is now in the top 5% of facial cleansers. The company says sales since launch last summer exceed $55 million.

"Cleansers before Biore were dead," says Allan Mottus, an industry consultant. "Biore showed that technology could bring them back. It was interesting because it was innovation launched in mass, not class," he says, referring to its introduction in drug, discount and supermarkets rather than tony department stores.

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