San Jose Comes Clean for Dial

The San Jose Group will size up opportunities in the Hispanic market for Dial’s line of soaps and detergents before deciding on an advertising strategy, the agency’s president said.

The Chicago shop bested at least five other agencies in a national review for the assignment from the Scottsdale, Ariz., company, which has not previously targeted Hispanics, said agency president George San Jose.

“They said, ‘Let’s take some steps and see how big the opportunity is,’ ” San Jose said. “We’re going to find out how big is big. We haven’t been put in a box.”

Given that, billings for the account have yet to be determined, San Jose said.

Ann Toca, director of advertising and consumer promotions at Dial, could not be reached to discuss San Jose’s appointment. Contenders in the review were not known.

San Jose said his agency pitched a fully integrated campaign to reach Hispanics, but stressed that much has to be done to get the company’s brands in front of the market before Dial engages in promotions and major TV efforts.

“We need to establish these brands among consumers first,” San Jose said. “If Hispanics do not know the brand, it doesn’t matter if you sponsor the Cinco de Mayo festival.”

San Jose said Dial has previously left the market to top players in the category, such as Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble. “As big as they are, that’s totally reflected in how they go after the Hispanic market,” San Jose said.

Specific regional markets for Dial to attack have yet to be targeted, but with the company’s national distribution, “we have the whole nation to pick from,” San Jose said.

A year ago, Dial awarded its $15-20 million general-market soap business to GSD&M, Austin, Texas. That came a month after the company awarded its detergent business, anchored by the Purex brand, to Cramer- Krasselt in Phoenix. Both businesses were previously at DDB, New York.

San Jose has worked for Colgate-Palmolive and said he knows the category well. Dial, he said, runs an operation that is similar to how he sees his own agency.

“They’re very buttoned-down,” he said. “They have adequate re search and information, they don’t shoot from the hip.”

The win includes Dial bar soaps, body washes and liquid soaps, as well as the Purex line of detergents.