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(June 28, 2001) -- Water Pik Technologies picked Ground Zero, Los Angeles, to handle its $10 million to $15 million creative and planning account following a strategic review for the launch of a kitchen and food sanitizing system called Aquia.

Aquia is the first of some 40 new products the company plans to launch this year to broaden its portfolio from oral care irrigators to include health and wellness offerings after the company was jettisoned in 2000 from Teledyne Technologies.

"The project was to develop a communications plan for how to educate consumers on how [Aquia] works, which uses ozone technology to kill germs and viruses," said Stanzi Prell, director of marketing for Water Pik.

Following a late summer introduction of Aquia, the company will also roll out its first entry in the wet foot spas category.

"We're acting more like a startup, and we wanted an agency partner that would be dedicated and aggressive," said Ms. Prell.

Ground Zero bested Gabriel Diericks Razidlo, Minneapolis, in a mini shootout after Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Dallas, pulled out of the final round due to a conflict with its Clorox client. True North Communications' FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, handled the account previously.

Media buying duties are still to be assigned. Jones Lundin Beals, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., conducted the pitch, which started with 20 agencies. -- Kate MacArthur

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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