CHICAGO, IL, June 21, 2004 - The Idaho Potato Commission has created a comprehensive marketing program designed to promote the world's most famous spud, while at the same time "taking on" the anti-carb movement.
The program includes advertising, public relations and marketing tactics, along with an Internet outreach.
Never too shy to sing the praises of the virtues of the Idaho Potato, the IPC views the current diet environment as a key opportunity to get out in front of the news with an alternate and balanced position.
"Responsible medical and nutrition experts do not advocate diets that recommend the elimination of entire food groups," said Frank Muir, President and CEO of the IPC. "For a particular diet to suggest that potatoes are 'bad' and should be avoided, to us, is unfortunate and short-sighted. A single Idaho Potato is about 100 calories and is packed with vital minerals and nutrients - including fiber, which helps a person feel full - a major bonus for a dieter."
The IPC was heartened to learn about new medical reports finding that low carb diets appear to be on similar footing as numerous other commercial diets: effective for temporary trimming, but unproven as a method for reducing weight-related risks over a lifetime.
"Now healthy-minded individuals can continue to enjoy vegetables, like Idaho Potatoes, without experiencing the angst of whether the carbs are 'good' or 'bad,' said Muir.
Specific IPC Initiatives
Television Advertising Campaign: The IPC launched a new ad in late 2003, starring the Idaho Potato. Presented in a straightforward, but ultimately dramatic "reveal" format, the new ad is designed to remind the public that Idaho Potatoes are not only delicious, but they are packed with nutrition. The Idaho Potato Commission created the ad specifically to promote the nutritional story and to set the record straight in the midst of America's anti-carb environment. The 30-second commercial starts with a nutrition label visual, the viewer watches as the camera scrolls down the label, revealing one compelling content fact after another. A voice informs the public that there's a food that's low in calories, has zero fat, no cholesterol or sodium and delivers half of the daily requirement of Vitamin C, and offers more potassium than a banana. At the commercial's end, a baked Idaho Potato is revealed as the object described on the label. English and Hispanic versions of the commercial were created and are running in major markets across the country.
Denise Austin Partnership: In early 2004, the IPC announced a major partnership with fitness icon Denise Austin, host of Lifetime Television's "Daily Workout with Denise Austin." Along with serving as a sponsor of her popular exercise program, the two entities are working on a variety of activities designed to reach the general public with the "other side of the carb story." These activities range from television appearances to articles bylined by Denise Austin in targeted print outlets, to Internet communications tactics.
Most recently, the IPC launched a weekly fitness tip program on www.idahopotato.com , featuring advice from Austin on how to live a healthy, fit life. On a parallel track, the IPC just initiated a national healthy lifestyle contest to solicit lifestyle and nutrition tips from the general public. The contest started May 1, 2004 and will run until the end of the year. Weekly winners will receive Denise Austin exercise equipment.
All of the IPC's health/fitness-event affiliations were purposely selected to connect the dots showing the effect a well-rounded diet and a fitness regimen can have in achieving a healthy lifestyle.
"Our biggest job right now is to tell the nutritional story about Idaho Potatoes," said Muir. "We understand that America is waging a fierce weight battle, but there is no logical reason to target food products that are so naturally good for you. Active healthy people need carbohydrates to fuel their working muscles, it's that simple."
Although Idaho is famous worldwide for its premium potatoes, some consumers don't realize that only potatoes grown in the Gem State can wear the "Grown In Idaho" seal. Both Idaho® Potatoes and the "Grown in Idaho®" seal 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.