Members of the United States Potato Board, meeting in conjunction with the National Potato Council in Cancun, Mexico, last week, agreed to push a potato nutrition message. At the same time the Board will team with Weight Watchers for promotion of the message.
The Board's Administrative Committee voted unanimously January 8 to launch an aggressive campaign with over $4.4 million to be spent in the next 12 months communicating "The Healthy Potato" message.
Jim Tiede, Board chairman, said committee members are excited because it will be getting "bang for the buck."
"We're going to make a huge splash with the national media campaign that positions the potato nutrition message in places like USA Today newspaper, and Better Homes and Gardens magazine," Tiede explained.
In addition, the Board will use a nutrition playbook, which will include national publicity programs, partnerships, and research, foodservice and retail elements.
Ray Meiggs, chairman of the Domestic Marketing Committee said the Board partnership with Weight Watchers has incredible potential.
"Working with Weight Watchers is a perfect partnership for the potato industry," Meiggs said. "They have been around for 40 years and have an outstanding reputation for helping people lose weight and keep it off. This is no fad diet. It's a lifestyle guide that works, and we are a part of it."
The Board will also meet with registered dieticians to discuss potatoes with influential audiences around the country. "Our affiliations with groups like the American Heart Association and American Dietetic Association will help create a strong scientific base for nutrition claims."
Point-of-purchase, packaging and ad circular artwork are being prepared for retailers, shippers and suppliers.
Weight Watchers will highlight a different fruit or vegetable each quarter. WW is also launching a it's "Quick Start" program to help people enjoy early success with 2004 resolutions to lose weight and get in shape.
Potatoes are the inaugural vegetable for the "Pick of the Season" program, which will include publicity linked to the fashion industry; editorials in the WW magazine; discussion about nutritional values of potatoes at WW meetings where currently 1 million consumers are enrolled.
WW will publish a brochure for its web site: weightwatchers.com. It will also be distributed at meetings.
Retail tie-ins include the "Pick-of-the-Season" logo on potato bags and brochures distributed at point-of-sale.