EAGLE, Idaho — A potato may not be the most fascinating thing to look at — it’s just round and kind of oblong — but America’s favorite vegetable is certainly finding its moments in the limelight this year.
The Idaho Potato Commission is continuing to run a national cable television campaign, but this year using a slightly tweaked version of the campaign it ran last year featuring fitness guru Denise Austin.
“We added a voiceover from Denise mentioning the average potato is only 25 cents,” said Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of the commission.
In addition the state’s potatoes are expected to be featured on an episode of Fox network’s “Awesome Adventures.”
“They go into cities around the world and identify a young woman and man from the area to guest host,” Muir said. “They recently filmed one in Boise at a potato field and shed, and they pick out their own potatoes and make jojo fries.”
Muir said Idaho potatoes were a major part the taping of an episode of “Kitchen Nightmares,” also a Fox show, this season, and he expects to see them in the episode when it airs.
Art Ginsburg, better known as Mr. Food, is also planning on featuring Idaho potatoes in a few of his 90-second food segments, which are commonly featured on newscasts across the country.
“He’s going to film three TV vignettes,” Muir said. “What he’s trying to do is show value and how you can make delicious recipes economically. He’s all about practicality.”
Muir said the potato has also been filmed for “Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen” on PBS.
Fitness expert Austin also is booked for a satellite media tour, as is Kristin Armstrong, an Olympic gold medal cyclist.
“Kristin loves Idaho potatoes, not only because she lives here but as an elite athlete she believes it has one of the best nutritional returns for an athlete,” Muir said.
Muir said many European cyclists will keep potatoes in their pockets and much as they cycle for extra energy.
In addition to its television outreach, Muir said the commission is continuing to expand its online presence with video posts and widgets.
“This last year we reached more than 1 billion impressions on publicity alone, which isn’t counting television ads,” Muir said. “Those are just impressions for news stories, interviews, television and radio.”
Muir this summer did an interview on Martha Stewart radio on XM radio, he said.
In-person events are always big for the commission too, he said. Coming up for the commission are the American Wine and Food Festival in Los Angeles and the Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, where it sponsors the side dish contest that goes along with the Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray.