Newfangled marketing notions might be fine for some. But Carex Systems, in Brookline, Mass., prefers the time-honored razor-and-blade approach: marketing a touch-free battery-operated soap dispenser in order to help sell the untold gallons of the suds it will supply. Aimed at billion-dollar medical and dental markets, where contamination-wary health workers wash their hands dozens of times a day, the device uses an infrared sensor -- instead of conventional foot pumps -- to deliver bacteria-killing soap and surgical scrubs. While CEO Jay Reubens predicts dispensers, retailing for $129, could bring $4 million in sales this year, the non-abrasive soaps, milder and cheaper to use than most, are expected to generate sales of $50 million by 1994.

-- Anne Murphy