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Nestle USA is giving its instant coffee lines a promotional push with the test of a new Nescafe product and a contest linked to the end of its long-running ad campaign for Taster's Choice.

The company is test marketing Espresso Roast instant coffee in San Francisco and Boston. In San Francisco, the product has been featured on outdoor boards and sampled to newspaper subscribers. The Sunday newspaper package also included a coupon.

With the tagline, "The coffee for intense taste," the ads use 1950s photos taken in coffee shops with headlines such as, "Intense, dig?"


The coffee is being touted as "bold, full-bodied . . . daringly rich." Nescafe is suggesting that hot milk be added to the product instead of hot water to make a "surprisingly smooth, rich cafe latte, a perfect start to your day." It comes in regular and decaffeinated blends.

For Taster's Choice, Nestle is asking consumers, via ballots attached to coupons in Sunday newspapers, to vote on an ending for the romantic couple featured in ads since November 1990.

The campaign, from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Los Angeles, began with a woman borrowing a jar of Taster's Choice from her handsome neighbor and was serialized through 13 episodes. In the final episode, the woman was confronted with choosing between her neighbor and her ex-husband.

Her choice will be announced in the Feb. 3 issue of Soap Opera Digest, Nestle said, but will not appear in a commercial. The campaign's last ad ran in February.

A new campaign for Taster's Choice is slated to break next year. Spending last year on the brand was $10.2 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.


According to Information Resources Inc., Taster's Choice Original Blend instant coffee was the fourth-ranked brand in the $652 million instant coffee segment for the 52-week period ended Sept. 14. Kraft Foods' General Foods International coffee leads the segment, followed by Procter & Gamble Co.'s Folgers instant and Kraft's Maxwell House. Nescafe Classic instant coffee ranked seventh in the

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