GSD&M Wins Dial Soap Review

Dial Corp. has awarded its $15-20 million soap account to Omnicom Group’s GSD&M.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based client had cut its review to three contenders last week. The other finalists were The Richards Group of Dallas and IPG’s Suissa Miller in Los Angeles.

Sources said GSD&M of Austin, Texas, had the inside track as a result of an established relationship with newly appointed Dial chairman and chief executive officer Herb Baum. Baum, a key factor in the agency review, previously held the same titles at Quaker State prior to its acquisition in 1999 by Pennzoil. GSD&M handles branding work for Quaker State-Pennzoil, as well as advertising for the company’s individual lubricant products.

The agency that had represented Dial, Omnicom’s DDB Worldwide in New York, participated in the review but did not make the finals. In May, the client shifted its laundry detergent business from DDB to Cramer-Krasselt in Phoenix, Ariz.

The selection process was overseen by consultancy The New Business Perspective in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

GSD&M representatives declined comment. Dial Corp. officials did not return calls by press time last week.

GSD&M will handle all of Dial’s namesake brands, including Dial Bar Soap, Dial Liquid, Dial Hand Sanitizer, Dial Bodywash, Dial Shower Cream and the newly launched Dial Complete.

The agency’s advertising assignment will also encompass the Coast and Tone brands from Dial’s personal care division.

GSD&M, led by president Roy Spence, is being brought on as Dial’s soap division faces declining sales and market share.

Sales of Dial’s personal cleansing products were up 14 percent during the first quarter—from $86 million to $98 million—according to the company’s SEC filings. But the increase was primarily due to last year’s acquisition of the Coast brand and the introduction of Dial Complete, an antibacterial liquid.

Existing products have not fared as well. As of May 20, unit sales of Dial’s flagship bar soap, for instance, had decreased 12 percent from last year, although it still maintains a distant second place in market share to Unilever’s Dove Bar.

The Dial account adds a significant brand name to GSD&M’s packaged-goods roster. The agency’s previous packaged-goods clients in-clude Airheads Candy, Parents’ Choice infant formula and Pennzoil motor oil.