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Dial, An Exercise in Minimum Soap Unit

April 2, 2012

I commend the makers of Dial®. They manage to provide a soap bar with the most diminished amount of actual soap product, by making it significantly from air.

Here is the unopened bar, appearing to contain a reasonably hefty bar of soap within.



Even when looking at the opened soap, from most angles it looks like what you’d imagine a “bar” looks like. This is because there is always a full-thickness edge visible, giving the illusion of mass. But when examining it straight-on from one of the edges, it’s obvious that much is amiss.

From the length-wise side, a portion of the bottom of the bar is scooped out, eliminating an appreciable volume. This arch reduces the width of the soap by 9/32 inch at its deepest point. I’m sure marketing has a cool name for this missing soap that so effectively reduces its size, such as “body contouring.”



Now looking width-wise, the top side of the bar is also scooped out, at its deepest point by 5/32 inch.



Given that both the top and bottom are much slimmer in their middle, albeit across different sides and axes, the bar is actually pretty thin in the center. As if that’s not enough, the logo impression, also in this thin middle, is another 3/32 inch deep. I can imagine the conference room scenario: “We must make the soap smaller without removing the appearance of bulk or structural integrity.” “But we’ve removed all we can!” “Figure out a way.” “How about we impress a deep-ass trench of the product name?”



I measured the maximum width of the soap to be approximately 1-1/16 inches. Summing the removed depths from the top, bottom, and logo, I get 17/32, which means the bar’s thinnest span is half the total cross-section.

Nice job, Dial®. I consider this to be a minor feat of engineering.

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