The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

The advantage of high-profile events

Published in the February 2013 Issue Published online: Feb 28, 2013 Frank Muir, IPC President and CEO
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"Field Shot. The Utah State Aggies defeated the University of Toledo Rockets at the second annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 41-15. Courtesy photo.
"Signature Wall. A Signature Wall was set up in front of the Truck outside the stadium. For every signature collected, the IPC donated $1 to the Meals On Wheels Boise chapter. A total of $2,500 was raised! Courtesy photo.
"Spuddy Buddy. Spuddy Buddy rallied with fans during the trophy presentations after the game. Courtesy photo.
"Coin Toss. At 2:30 p.m. MST, the captains from Utah State University (USU) and the University of Toledo met at the 50-yard line for the coin toss. USU won the toss and the second annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was under way! Courtesy photo.
"MVP . Frank Muir (3rd from left) presents the Most Valuable Player Award to Kerwynn Williams (2nd from left), running back for the Utah State University Aggies. Courtesy photo..

At 2:30 P.m. MST, the coaches from Utah State University (USU) and the University of Toledo met at the 50-yard line for the coin toss. USU won the toss and the second annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was under way!

Like other games, there were incredible runs, unfortunate fumbles and exciting touchdowns. However, the most poignant moment for me was after the game when I had an opportunity to meet the family of Kerwynn Williams, who was named USU's Most Valuable Player. He rushed for a career record of 235 yards during the game and was instrumental in helping make 2012 the most successful season in the school's history. Overall, the team finished 11-2 and won the Western Athletic Conference.

Kerwynn's father is understandably proud of his son. After the trophy presentations, he took the time to tell me how extremely appreciative he is of the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) and all the other sponsors who contribute resources to give these young athletes an opportunity to play in a nationally recognized bowl game. This experience will be one of the highlights not only of their college careers, but probably their lives as well.

From a business perspective, we all know the advantages of sponsoring college athletics, especially high-profile events such as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. These advantages include:

 The Idaho potato brand receives hundreds of millions of media impressions throughout the year in prominent news outlets that cover sports;

 At the nationally televised game, the Idaho potato logo is prominently showcased throughout the stadium;

 Numerous branded television and radio ads air during the weeks leading up to the game;

 We are given hundreds of tickets to share with industry friends to show our appreciation for their ongoing support.


Additionally, we leverage the game to showcase many of the IPC's other important marketing initiatives, such as the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck, our database of recipes (many of which are perfect for tailgating) and our relationships with Meals On Wheels (MOW) and the Mr. Food Test Kitchen that help us reach a broader audience.

The Truck made its final appearance in 2012 at the game and it was as popular as we expected! As a national sponsor of MOW, we wanted to show our support and recognize the efforts of the Boise chapter. We created a signature wall that was set up in front of the Truck. For every signature collected, we donated $1 to MOW. The MOW Boise chapter received a much-needed and appreciated check for $2,500.

The Idaho Grower Shippers Association (IGSA) also leveraged the game to help the less fortunate. IGSA donated three potatoes to the Idaho Food Bank's Eastern Idaho branch on behalf of each fan who attended the game, which resulted in a donation of over 4,000 pounds of potatoes. In addition to the potatoes, IGSA made a $5,000 cash donation to the food bank.

Beyond Boise, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen helped promote the game by creating a downloadable e-cookbook filled with more than 30 mouth-watering tailgate recipes. Tens of thousands of potato lovers downloaded the e-cookbook and viewed the recipes.

The 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was a huge success. I want to thank the industry for their ongoing support of this game and all of our other marketing programs that help us promote one of our state's most important agricultural products-the Idaho potato.