A Soft Sell

Boldly assaulting the bar

"A bar of soap is almost the ideal consumer product," says Rod Hickman, 37, vice president of marketing for Jovan, the perfume and cosmetics manufacturer. "It fits into the hand, you can pick it up easily, and it's inexpensive. In fact, it's hard to beat."

Maybe so, but Jovan and some 30 other companies have something they hope will beat Dial, Zest, Dove and other bar soaps at the sinks of American homes. It is liquid soap, a softer, creamier and better-smelling version of the soap that has been used for...

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