Our Two Bits

Marketing the potato with a 25-cent message

Published in the August 2009 Issue Published online: Aug 06, 2009 Frank Muir, IPC President
Viewed 1186 time(s)

Commission Mission

This summer I spent a considerable amount of time with our advertising and public relations agency working on the marketing plans for the upcoming year. Based on the economic environment and the success of our current "Watching Waistlines and Wallets" program, the value of the Idaho potato, a nutrient-dense vegetable that costs just 25 cents, will continue to be our primary message and drive the majority of our programming this upcoming year.

"Watching Waistlines and Wallets," a theme we developed last year, has become a powerful slogan that is prominently featured on our website. We know that cost-conscious consumers want to purchase healthy foods for their families without breaking the bank and most importantly, we want them to know that for around 25 cents, one Idaho potato has 110 calories, contains zero fat and cholesterol and is loaded with important vitamins and nutrients.

This theme will be communicated through our national television advertising campaign featuring Denise Austin. We plan to air the commercial that we filmed in eastern Idaho last summer, but re-record Denise's voice to better communicate the 25-cent message. This commercial will air on national cable networks like CNN, Food Network and the Discovery Channel.

Our multi-faceted public relations campaign will communicate the 25-cent message through a number of different channels. The "Watching Waistlines and Wallets" micro-site (www.idahopotato.com/waistlines_wallets) will be revamped and offer more recipes than ever before as well as tips on how to save money on your grocery bill. The enhanced micro-site will be updated regularly and offer substantive prizes to keep consumers coming back month after month. Our popular widget, "Dishin' Nutrition with Denise Austin," which features a daily nutrition or physical activity tip will be folded into this micro-site as will our interactive "Tater Tips" feature that invites consumers to share their favorite and/or unusual ways of using Idaho potatoes.

To celebrate the 2009 Idaho potato harvest, we will launch an interactive game for kids of all ages on our website www.idahopotato.com on or about September 15. This game will consist of nine photographs depicting the life cycle of an Idaho potato including seeds, potato plants, harvest, storage shed, processing facility and dinner.

Visitors to the site will be asked to put the photographs in chronological order in 30 seconds or less; those who attempt to piece the puzzle together are automatically entered into a drawing to win a grand prize of $10,000.

Half of the prize money will be donated to a local school identified by the winner. We expect this contest to generate incredible media coverage and traffic to the website as our pitching efforts will be vast: traditional media (newspapers, magazines, etc.); social media sites (blogs, e-zines, etc.); viral marketing (include "pass-along" feature on site, initiate viral email, etc.) and outreach to school-based organizations and clubs (PTO/PTA, AASA, NPA, etc.).

This is just a sampling of what to expect during the first quarter of the year. Our marketing plan, which was designed to keep the Idaho potato value and nutrition messages top of mind with our primary consumers, ensures we meet our three primary objectives:

  • Continue to position Idaho potatoes as a premium brand that is a healthy and affordable vegetable option.
  • Encourage consumers to look for the "Grown in Idaho" seal when purchasing fresh, frozen and processed Idaho potatoes.
  • Generate "headline" news for Idaho potatoes.

Thank you again for your continued support of Idaho potatoes.