Dial Touts Antioxidant-Infused Body Wash

Soap maker Dial has tapped into mass-market demand for anti-aging shower products with a new body wash containing cranberry extracts and antioxidant pearls. The product, called Dial Antioxidant Body Wash, will hit stores this month.

Henkel, which owns Dial, spent $8 million on the effort—the largest for the brand this year. (Henkel spent $4.7 million through November 2008 advertising its body wash brand, not including online efforts, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.) The company claims that Dial Antioxidant Body Wash is the first mainstream brand with cranberry extracts and antioxidant pearls to fight aging skin.

Brands like Tom’s of Maine and Ulta already offer specialty beauty products, but Dial’s introduction is notable because it is bringing these benefits to the food, drug and mass channels, said Mintel senior beauty analyst Krista Faron.

The Dial Antioxidant Body Wash costs $4.59-5.49, and comes in 12-, 18- and 24-oz. sizes. Dial has also created an antioxidant glycerin bar soap and a foaming hand wash (which hits stores in July) to complement the line.

Unilever tried a similar approach when it expanded its Dove body wash brand to include the Nutrium line. The original version touting skin nourishment benefits was introduced in 1999, and Unilever later came out with an antioxidant version of Nutrium.

“The trend is not entirely new. We’ve seen it in the specialty channels before. But the fact that it’s coming to the mass market shows it’s gaining momentum,” Faron said.

Dial will break a TV spot for the body wash on the E! channel during the Oscars this weekend. Playing off of the product’s cranberry red color, the company is also partnering with the American Heart Association’s “The Heart Truth” campaign to raise awareness about heart disease. Other elements include sampling efforts and FSIs.

One spot shows a cranberry exploding into a burst of red juice when a woman wearing red boxing gloves punches it. Not only does the new body wash “protect, but [it] reveals healthy, younger-looking skin,” says the voiceover. The ad ends with the tagline, “Luckily, your skin has someone in its corner,” as the woman emerges from the shower, playfully punching her boyfriend.

“The idea was to keep everything extremely crisp and clean,” said Todd Hoffman, group creative director at Energy BBDO’s Chicago office, which created the ads. The spot “gives you a sense of empowerment and self-confidence because you’re doing something good for your skin,” he said.

Dial Body Wash brand manager Ryan Gaspar said the ads also highlight a growing demand in personal care products. “The [category] is getting more benefit-driven. You’re seeing more and more products touting benefits such as moisturizing and smoothing,” Gaspar said.

But as is the case with many beauty categories in a down economy, Faron said the body wash’s benefits might not justify the price. She said, “In that regard, Dial may have a bit of a struggle, in convincing consumers to trade up to a product that’s more expensive.”

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