Just a Hobby

Published online: Jan 28, 2022 Articles Brett Jensen, Chairman, Idaho Potato Commission
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This column appears in the January 2022 issue of Potato Grower.

Despite an international pandemic, Farmer Mark’s obsession with the Big Idaho Potato Truck is stronger than ever, as evidenced in the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) newest national television commercial, aptly named “Hobbies.” The IPC premiered its 12th commercial featuring the Big Idaho Potato Truck and Farmer Mark during ESPN’s live broadcast of Boise State’s football season opener against the Central Florida on Sept. 2.

Debuting the commercial during Boise State’s first game has become a tradition. IPC is a longtime sponsor of the Broncos, and fans look forward to being the first to see what crazy antics Mark will pull next in an effort to find the Truck and its adventurous Tater Team.

The commercial also aired on FS1 during Boise State’s first two home games—against UTEP on Sept. 10 and against Oklahoma State on September 18. It began airing nationwide in October on Fox News, CNN, Headline News, Food Network, Hallmark, Discovery, OWN and National Geographic, as well as streaming platforms Discovery+, Hulu and Sling. It will run through mid-March 2022.

The commercial is strategically scheduled to air during the months when the Truck is not traveling, allowing the IPC to cost-effectively build a year-round national advertising campaign.

“Hobbies” continues to center on Farmer Mark’s ongoing search for the Big Idaho Potato Truck. Finding a lot of time on his hands during the pandemic, Mark wisely occupies his time with new hobbies—all Idaho Potato Truck-related, of course! See what happens by viewing the commercial on IPC’s website ad YouTube channel.

In the IPC’s newest commercial, Farmer Mark has developed some Idaho potato-themed hobbies to occupy his time.

In addition to the new television commercial, the IPC launched its fiscal year 2021-22 marketing campaign in September. Highlights include:

  • Big Idaho Potato Truck: Next spring, the four-ton tuber will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. For a decade, the Big Idaho Potato Truck has been traveling across the country meeting millions of people and making Idaho potatoes their favorite vegetable in the produce aisle. In February, we’ll announce the 2022 schedule that will be packed with special events and lots of promotions.
  • The Most Famous Potato in the Universe: We all know Idaho potatoes are the most famous vegetable in world, but how about the universe? Very soon, the Idaho potato will have its very own star. Its name and location will be revealed on the website and through the IPC’s social media channels.
  • Idaho-Ho-Ho Sweepstakes: A digital scratch-off game launched during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, the busiest buying season for Idaho potatoes. Hundreds of prizes ranging from cash to fresh Idaho potatoes to Spuddy Buddies were awarded.
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has become one of the most exciting college bowl games to watch. Two now-starting NFL quarterbacks, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Zach Wilson of the New York Jets were MVPs of the game when they played on the blue turf in recent years. The 2021 game was played Dec. 21. (As of this writing, participating teams had not yet been announced.)
  • Social Media Influencers: The IPC prides itself on working with some of the most talented and passionate influencers in the country, like A Cook Named Matt, named “TikTok’s Most Fun Chef” by Forbes. Our group of culinarians this year promise to wow you with engaging videos and impressive dishes.

Marketing campaigns specific to retailers and foodservice sectors will remain robust. IPC’s regional promotion directors will continue to meet with customers one-on-one (or via Zoom) to ensure grocery store shelves are stocked and there are plenty of Idaho potatoes to fulfill menu requests. 

We value the industry’s and public’s continued support of Idaho potatoes. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to the IPC at (208) 334-2350.