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Chefs and celebrities pitch in to promote Idaho potatoes

by | January 02, 2011
In recent years, the Idaho Potato Commission has engaged several well- known personalities to help communicate the different virtues of the Idaho potato brand, such as the nutritive benefits, value, versatility and the deep reverence Americans have for Idaho-grown spuds.

Whenever the IPC engages a celebrity for a project, it pays off tenfold. We generate millions of media impressions, see an increase in visits to the IPC web site and receive extremely positive feedback from consumers and industry members.

However, when we engage a celebrity, it's not without careful thought and consideration. This person must embrace the same values as the IPC and be able to uniquely communicate many aspects of the brand to our target audience.

Here are three who in recent years have helped the IPC drive home the message of Idaho Potatoes as a high-quality, nutritious food.

Denise Austin -- Denise Austin, America’s famous fitness guru, has been the IPC spokesperson for the past seven years. We engaged Denise when the low/no-carbohydrate diet craze was at its peak — when folks were loading up on proteins and shunning carbohydrates, especially potatoes.

Denise, who exemplifies a healthy, balanced lifestyle, was able to help the IPC communicate to its target audience (women ages 25-54) the nutritive benefits of potatoes and specifically the importance of eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates.

Even though the low/no-carbohydrate diet fad has faded, she has retained her role as the IPC’s spokesperson and continues to help us spread the word about the importance of eating a balanced, healthy diet.

Kristin Armstrong -- Olympic gold medal cyclist and Boise, ID, native Kristin Armstrong said that one of the secrets of her success is eating a diet high in complex carbohydrate-rich foods like Idaho potatoes.

During 30 satellite television interviews conducted from her home, Kristin shared her recipe for Parmesan Idaho potatoes — a snack she eats when training or racing.

Sliced into wedges, Kristin wraps the potatoes in foil, carries them with her on her bike and pops them in her mouth when she feels the need to fuel up.

Mr. Food -- Best known for his quick and easy cooking philosophy, Mr. Food’s daily televised cooking segment airs in 140 markets around the country and reaches an average of 5 million viewers each day.

Always helping his loyal audience save money at the supermarket, Mr. Food, who has become a good friend of the IPC during the past few years, has featured Idaho potatoes in numerous segments and highlighted all aspects of the versatile vegetable including harvest, cooking and storage tips, and delicious, cost-saving recipes, while continually communicating the critical value messaging.