Estimated 1993 promotion spending by the top five soap marketers (chart) INTROS HELP BOOST SOAP COUPONS NEW OIL OF OLAY BATH BAR IS BIG PLAYER

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The $1.8 billion bar and liquid soap market, bubbling with new products, sharply boosted promotional spending for new and old brands alike last year.

Soap marketers' spending on coupons and other promotional events shot up 26% to $113 million, according to a survey conducted for Advertising Age by Promotion Information Management, Chicago. The number of promotional events-including free standing inserts, newspaper and magazine coupons, and direct mail pieces-climbed 4% to 144 last year.

Procter & Gamble Co.'s 1993 spending jumped 29.1% to $23.1 million with the introduction in April of Oil of Olay Moisturizing Bath Bar, which received $30 million in marketing support; Wells Rich Greene BDDP, New York, handles ads. A month after the launch, P&G's total bar soap share was up to 32.5%, compared with Lever Bros.' 31.5%, according to Information Resources Inc.

In June, P&G dropped back to 30.4%, still a healthy increase over the 27.8% share it held for the 52 weeks ended the previous June.

Lever and P&G continued to swap first and second place through 1993. Lever remained the biggest promotional spender at $32.3 million, up 4.2% from the previous year for its Lever 2000, Dove, Caress and Shield brands.

Ten of Lever's 28 promotional events last year supported new products or line extensions, including unscented and liquid forms of the popular Lever 2000. Promotions for Lever 2000 are handled in-house.

Three separate promotions offered free products: a subscription to Beauty Watch newsletter, a pair of No Nonsense Sheer & Silk pantyhose, or, for consumers who called a toll-free number, a bar of Caress soap.

With $10 million in ad support from J. Walter Thompson USA, Lever 2000 liquid soap achieved a 3.3% share of the $309 million segment by yearend. Overall, the fast-growing liquid segment now represents 20% of the total personal wash market.

Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Softsoap brand remained the leader in liquids, its share increasing to 28.2% from 26.3% in 1992. Colgate boosted promotional spending by 53.5% to $15.2 million.

Dial Corp.'s Liquid Dial came in second with a 21.3% share, up from 19.2%. Dial ranked third in promotional spending, growing 19% to $21.9 million. Although spending was up, Dial's coupon circulation was down 8% to 1.1 billion.

Dial's biggest promotion was a June FSI featuring all its soap brands-Dial, Spirit, Tone and Pure & Natural. The promotion supported donation to the Children's Miracle Network with an offer of a free poster. Dial remained the No. 2 brand with a 10.3% share, behind Dove's 16%.

New products from Dial Corp. this year are expected to stir up more activity in the soap category. The company last month rolled out Dial Plus, a moisturizing bar with antibacterial properties, with $25 million in ad support from DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago. Frankel & Co. handles promotions. Dial is positioning the new brand against Lever 2000 and Oil of Olay's Moisturizing Bath Bar.

New shower gels will also require boosted couponing; Andrew Jergens Co. will introduce a gel and Dial, Oil of Olay and Lever 2000 will test-market shower gel products.

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