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PARIS-France's largest coffee marketer is running an ad and promotion campaign to avoid rising coffee prices leaving a bitter taste in consumers' mouths.

The TV and direct mail couponing effort from Kraft Jacobs Suchard started with a 20-second introduction warning that coffee prices are escalating. Following was a montage of five 8-second, brand-specific coffee spots ending with a three-second tag telling coffee lovers to check their mail for a coupon booklet.

The spots in the series were interspersed with non-coffee commercials sold by local stations and rolled into one big spot.

While KJS won't disclose the value of the program, masterminded by Levallois Perret-based promotion house Cherokee and running until Christmas, it's clearly enormous. The company will air 300 shorter spots during a four-week period just prior to Christmas and has distributed 8 million coupons.

The program includes a 93 cents-off coupon for any of the brands and the offer of a $9 refund for $19 in proofs-of-purchase.

The goal is to cushion the blow of java prices leaping to about $3.72 a half pound by February from about $1.86 last summer because of frost in Brazil.

KJS' has grounds for concern. The coffeemaker controls 47% of the $1.2 billion French coffee market with Carte Noire, Jacques Vabre, Grand Mere Velour Noirs and Maxwell coffees.

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