Why Dial’s New Moisturizer Sounds Good Enough to Eat

Dial will attempt to spice up its body wash offerings with fruit oils, which are designed to address consumers’ primary complaint about moisturizers—greasiness—in addition to giving the line a healthy halo.

Dial, a unit of Henkel, is pitching the new line NutriSkin as “never greasy, lush and refreshingly clean.” Dial claims the grape seed and cherry seed oils in the products (which also contain lemongrass and mint) are lighter than the heavy cream oils that competitors like Unilever’s Dove and Procter & Gamble’s Olay employ.

The line came in response to research which showed that women liked moisturizing body washes, but not the “glop” and “grease” associated with them. Dial also hopes the fruit oils will link the line with nutrition, an aspect underscored by a tie-in with the reality cooking show Top Chef. It also mirrors a successful strategy from Garnier Fructis, which employs active fruit concentrates and fruit imagery in its advertising and packaging.

TV ads from Energy BBDO, Chicago, begin in April and show a woman showering while giant fruit seed oil beads float upwards. “Discover a refreshingly light twist on deep moisture,” the voiceover says. (OMD, Los Angeles, handles media buying duties.)

Dial is also running TV spots and custom vignettes during Top Chef’s seventh season this summer. Though Dial isn’t a food brand, per se, body wash brand manager Ryan Gaspar said the show, which runs on Bravo, was a logical fit as “we’re playing on this angle of nutrition for your skin.”

“Top Chef runs the line between nutrition and beauty…and that’s where we found the synergy and integration,” he said of the brand’s partnership with the show, which also includes an April media event with Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi in New York.

The tie-in is designed to help the brand reach its primary target of women aged 25 to 54, with a “bull’s eye” on the 30-to-35-year-old age group, Gaspar said. “She is looking for new products with fresh ingredients and multibenefits, but [ones that are sold] at a great price,” he said of the target consumer.

A 16-oz. bottle of body wash sells for $4.49, while the suggested retail prices for the bar soap and liquid hand soap are $2.49 (for a three-bar), $4.49 (eight-bar) and $1.69 for 7.5 fluid ounces, respectively. Dial is dropping an FSI for the products this month.

Dial didn’t disclose spending on the campaign, but it spent $6 million promoting its body washes last year, sans online, per the Nielsen Co.

Sales of liquid body washes, a $757 million category, have continued to grow despite the downturn. Dollar sales rose 4.8 percent for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, per IRI. Unilever’s Axe is in first place, with a 13.1 percent jump in dollar sales to $55 million.

Moreover, the number of new body wash or shower gel products boosting moisturizing claims have risen over the years, per Datamonitor, a research firm that tracks new products. In 2009, there were 40 SKUs with moisturizing claims, up from 27 in 2008.

Datamonitor research director Tom Vierhile cautioned that all those claims may make it harder for Dial’s new launch to stand out. NutriSkin, he said, may also confuse consumers as they may question, how much moisturizing is actually delivered by the product? “It also seems to impugn the entire moisturizing body wash sector by bringing up a negative” associated with the category, Vierhile said.

Mintel senior beauty analyst Krista Faron was also skeptical of NutriSkin’s chances. “There are other brands talking about moisture benefits,” she said.

P&G, for instance, sells Olay Body Wash With Butter Ribbons, and Dove has a line of body washes with NutriumMoisture technology. In addition, Beiersdorf marketing vp Nicolas Maurer pointed out that Nivea this month launches Hydrating Shower Gels, a body wash that claims to provide moisturizing benefits, but without a “greasy residue or feeling.”