Idaho Potato Commission Earns Progressive Grocer's Top Commodity Board Award

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One of Only Six Organizations Honored for Cutting-Edge Retailer Campaigns

EAGLE, ID, October 20, 2011 – Bobblehead sales managers and comic book tales of spudly superheroes helped the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) clinch a Progressive Grocer Commodity Board Retail Leadership Award 2011.

The first-ever awards, which honor the industry’s top six commodity marketing and promotional boards, singled out the IPC as a trailblazer for its quirky retail superhero campaign and its wide variety of creative initiatives to drive retail sales.

The IPC was one of only two produce organizations to win the Progressive Grocer award, based on a points system for sales performance, retailer support and development, consumer outreach and other criteria. Among the hundreds of U.S. commodity boards, only a small number maintain a retail sales force and allocate a significant budget for promotions that produce demonstrable results for commodity sales growth.

Seth Pemsler, Vice President, Retail/International, IPC (middle), accepts Progressive Grocer Commodity Board Retail Leadership Award from Meg Major, Editor in Chief, Progressive Grocer. Also pictured is Ned Bardic, Senior Vice President, Progressive Grocer.

Seth Pemsler, Vice President, Retail/International, IPC (middle), accepts Progressive Grocer Commodity Board Retail Leadership Award from Meg Major, Editor in Chief, Progressive Grocer. Also pictured is Ned Bardic, Senior Vice President, Progressive Grocer.

“Our charter commodity board winners are among the most influential sources of information out there for their industries,” says Meg Major, editor in chief of Progressive Grocer. “We chose these six commodity boards because they have exceptional retail-specific strategies. They’ve been instrumental in helping retailers plan and implement programs that both boost sales and engage shoppers.”

Pushing the boundaries of traditional trade advertising, IPC’s superhero campaign uses offbeat humor to personalize the relationship between retail category managers and their IPC field representatives. The four members of the Fearless Field Force—IPC retail promotion directors Bill Savilonis, Ken Tubman, Larry Whiteside and Kent Beesley—have been immortalized as bobblehead keepsakes and star as cartoon superheroes in both print and online ads and a custom comic book.

“Our four experienced produce veterans possess almost supernatural abilities to help retailers boost their potato profitability,” said Seth Pemsler, vice president, Retail/International, IPC. “Our campaign brings their superhero personas to life and gets retailers talking about Idaho® potatoes. In fact, I’ve received dozens of letters and photographs from key retailers who want us to know that they’re prominently displaying the campaign items in their offices.”

The IPC has extended the superhero campaign theme, which has won a number of awards for excellence in marketing communication, to USB flash drives with market data, animated YouTube videos and direct mail pieces for retailers. Other IPC support materials that promote the Idaho® potato brand include Potato Retailing Today, an eight-page quarterly section in Progressive Grocer, along with an exclusive Idaho edition of The Produce News, a national television advertising campaign, and innovative bin promotions.

Progressive Grocer's Commodity Board Retail Leadership Award surrounded by the Fearless Field Force bobbleheads.Progressive Grocer's Commodity Board Retail Leadership Award surrounded by the Fearless Field Force bobbleheads.

Seth Pemsler, Vice President, Retail/International, IPC (middle), accepts Progressive Grocer Commodity Board Retail Leadership Award from Meg Major, Editor in Chief, Progressive Grocer. Also pictured is Ned Bardic, Senior Vice President, Progressive Grocer.

About the Idaho Potato Commission

The Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is primarily responsible for expanding the markets for Idaho-grown potatoes through advertising, promotion and research. The Commission also protects the use of the “Idaho® potato” and “Grown in Idaho®” seals, which are federally registered Certification Marks that belong to the IPC. These Marks ensure that consumers are purchasing potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho. For more information, visit www.idahopotato.com.