The Dial Corporation

AuthorSimone Samano

Page 435

15501 N. Dial Boulevard

Scottsdale, Arizona 85260


Telephone: (480) 754-3425

Fax: (480) 754-1098

Web site:


In 2001 Dial, the Dial Corporation's mainstay brand in the soap market for more than 50 years, was the only brand with an all-antibacterial line of products. The challenge in promoting it was that focus-group research showed that many consumers did not think they needed their soap to be antibacterial. In its maiden voyage as Dial's ad agency, Austin, Texas-based GSD&M came up with a high-impact national TV campaign called "You're Not as Clean as You Think." With the goal of increasing sales by reinvigorating the public's interest in the brand's soaps and body washes, the campaign was released in January 2002.

GSD&M created two television commercials to kick off the campaign, which had a budget of somewhere between $18 and $25 million. The effort not only used the tagline "You're not as clean as you think," but also resurrected the slogan "Aren't you glad you use Dial?" One spot began with a close-up, from a toilet bowl's point of view, of a thirsty dog lapping up a drink of toilet water. The dog's owner then arrived home to have her face licked enthusiastically by the pooch. This spot, as well as a second one that took place in a gym locker room and featured an inadvertently shared towel, employed gross-out humor. They were, however, constructed carefully to keep the message up front and offense to a minimum.

The campaign hit its mark. Sales of Dial-brand products increased 5 percent in the first half of 2003, placing the company more solidly in the number two position behind Dove's Unilever. USA Today's Ad Track polls in 2003 showed good numbers for the Dial commercials, particularly with regard to women, an audience Dial had hoped to woo. Dial retained the "You're Not as Clean as You Think" theme in 2004, using it in a cross-promotion with the movie Shrek 2, a partnership that the company described as successful.


The Dial Corporation's signature brand was established in the mid-1940s, when meatpacker Armour & Company developed an unlikely new product, deodorant soap. It named the new soap "Dial" to underscore claims that the product supplied 24-hour protection from odors caused by bacteria. The soap was introduced in 1948 with a full-page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune that featured a unique attention-getting element: it was printed with scented ink. Dial soap was an instant hit, and by the 1950s it had become the best-selling deodorant soap in the United States. In 1953 the company's famous advertising slogan, "Aren't you glad you use Dial? Don't you wish everybody did?" was born.

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The Dial brand was expanded beyond soap to include other deodorant products and shaving creams. In 1970 the brand was passed from one unusual corporate parent to another when Canadian bus company Greyhound bought Armour and moved the company to a new headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, under the moniker Armour-Dial. In 1987 the bus line was sold off. Two years later Liquid Dial soap, the first antibacterial soap of its kind, was introduced. The product was so well received that it spawned many imitators. In 1991 the company took the name of its best-known brand and became the Dial Corporation.

The Dial Corporation struggled in the 1990s, as competition increased and sales flattened. In the late 1990s it employed...

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