Marketing potatoes can be looked at from a calendar standpoint, says Chris Wada, director of marketing for Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

“Russet potatoes are a year-round program, and there are different time periods in there,” he said.

One opportunity to promote based on the calendar is Potato Lovers Month, in which most potato companies participate.

“We have some fun things we’ll roll out to our customers with that in mind,” Wada said.

Another popular promotion season corresponds with football.

The Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission this fall will sponsor the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl game for the second year.

The commission promotes its potatoes through commercials and other publicity efforts surrounding the game. Last year, these efforts results in about 4.7 billion impressions for the commission, according to Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail and international sales.

The event is scheduled for Dec. 15, and Pemsler again expects positive results.

Other calendar-oriented promotional efforts revolve around supporting a specific cause or fundraiser.

Potandon Produce LLC, Idaho Falls, supported the Autism Society and National Autism Awareness Month in April by developing an educational message about autism and how consumers can be more aware. The message, on specially designed tags, was affixed to all bags of Potandon potatoes shipped out of Idaho and Arizona during the promotion period.

Other Potandon efforts included the release of a new story for the company’s animated Klondike family characters, introducing a new character, Russell Russet, who has autism, and an integrated social media message.

At the end of the promotion, the company donated $10,000 to the Autism Society, marketing supervisor Barbara Keckler said.

In October, Potandon had its second Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, working with the National Breast Cancer Society. During the promotion, Potandon’s Klondike Rose and Klondike Goldust varieties were packaged in pink bags.

The company also worked with retail customers to create a larger effect by turning entire produce sections pink for the month.

Potandon then donated $10,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Keckler said.


PEI promotions

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board, Charlottetown, also has promotions planned for the upcoming year, including a repeat of last year’s “Pack Your Appetite” promotion that gave customers the chance to win a trip to the island by entering special PINs found on bags of PEI potatoes.

“It was a very successful promotion, so we said ‘Hey, let’s do it again.’ We had a terrific response last year,” general manager Greg Donald said.

Consumers have the chance to win several prizes, among other benefits for participating.

“Everyone who enters the contest gets a potato recipe e-mailed to them,” he said.

Retailers enjoy the contest as well, according to Donald.

“It’s great for retailers because all they have to do is stock the bags, and we take it from there.”

Another planned promotion is the board’s Tater Talk with You Tuber feature, to be included on the website.

The board plans to include a video booth in its presentations at food shows for visitors to record videos about PEI potatoes.