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Windex outdoor lets people clean windows by attaching a bottle to a garden hose and washing them down. Consumers liked that idea enough that Windex Outdoor ranked as one of the top 10 new product concepts of 1997 with AcuPoll, a concept-testing service.

But there is a performance catch. The product causes streaking of windows at temperatures under 55 degrees.

So, under the direction of Patricia Penman, director-media and promotional services, S.C. Johnson & Son tried a different advertising tactic in its 20-state southern and western test markets of the product last year.

Besides TV, radio and outdoor advertising from Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, the company arranged a deal with the Newspaper National Network to run newspaper ads for the product in 86 member papers on Thursdays and Fridays to target the weekend cleanup market, but only on weeks when weather forecasts call for good weekend weather.

The idea worked. S.C. Johnson rolled the product nationally in March.

In limited distribution, Windex Outdoor, along with Windex No-Drip, helped the overall brand to a 15.1% sales increase, to $151.4 million, for the 52 weeks ended April 26, according to Information Resources Inc.

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