(Aug. 31) SUN VALLEY, Idaho — Denise Austin will again take to the airwaves when the Idaho Potato Commission’s new commercial airs on cable TV channels, and attendees of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association annual meeting got a preview of the new commercial.

The cable campaign is something new for the Eagle-based commission, president Frank Muir said. It is expected to achieve more than a billion overall viewings, including 500 million from women viewers age 25-54, Muir said.

The commercial is slated to run on such cable networks as Fox News, Lifetime, Food Network, CNN and Fit TV.

Also new this year, Muir will be featured on PBS’ “Creative Living” to promote Idaho potatoes and give cooking demonstrations. In addition, PBS plans to feature Idaho potatoes in a “Spotlight On” segment, which is a five- to seven-minute spot that runs as filler between scheduled programming, Muir said. He said that in the first three months, the network guarantees 500 airings to a national audience of at least 3 million people.

Consumers also can expect to see a return of the iTuber Video Contest that debuted this year.

Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail merchandising for the commission, detailed its retail trade advertising campaign for 2007-08. The new ads, which follow last year’s “What’s wrong with this picture?” campaign, feature a comic book theme that ties Idaho potatoes into a superhero plot line.

On the foodservice front, the commission is focusing on reaching out to chefs and culinary educators to get more Idaho potatoes on restaurant menus, said Don Odiorne, vice president of foodservice.

In September, 12 corporate chefs from high-end and casual dining establishments — including McCormick & Schmick’s, Denny’s and Mimi’s Cafe — are scheduled to tour Idaho. Print ads targeting foodservice operators will also continue.

And, in keeping with the industry’s effort to establish Idaho as the go-to source of more than just russets, two of the six new ads will feature niche varieties, he said.

Muir emphasized the commission’s stance that a price discount on Idaho potatoes isn’t necessary to drive market share and that growth can be achieved through advertising and promotional efforts at both retail and foodservice.

Idaho shippers hear marketing, operating tactics
Ensuring food safety is a joint effort between suppliers and foodservice operators, Chris Koetke, dean of the Keller College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago, explains at an Aug. 29 food safety seminar at the Idaho Grower Shipper Association’s annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho.