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Louis raffel thinks business is now looking sunny-side up.

That's a welcome turnaround for the American Egg Board, which for years has been battling the perception that eggs are high in cholesterol.

The ensuing slide in egg consumption, first prompted by a 1984 U.S. Surgeon General's report, is now reversing itself, with Americans consuming 238 eggs per capita in 1997, up one egg per person.

"That may not sound like much, but it's something like 267 million eggs," says Mr. Raffel, president-CEO of the producer group.

To accomplish the gain, AEB not only had to overcome consumers' perceptions but also battle other breakfast options with ad budgets that dwarfed AEB's $7 million last year.

To maximize exposure, Mr. Raffel worked out a media plan with Grey Advertising, New York, its shop of five years, to spend its budget on morning TV and radio, hitting consumers when they are ready for breakfast, as well as intensifying TV efforts near the weekend when families are gearing up for big breakfasts.

He also twinned the new "I love eggs" theme with its long-running "the incredible edible egg" tag. In '98, that's been joined with a new tag, "If it ain't eggs, it ain't breakfast."

The result: Although overproduction caused dollar sales to fall 1.3% in 1997, according to Information Resources Inc., volume was up 1.2%.

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