(Oct. 31) What could fitness expert Denise Austin and a 70-pound cake possibly have in common?

They’re both part of the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission’s promotional plans, said Frank Muir, chief executive officer.

Halfway through 2007, Muir said, the commission plans to launch a public relations campaign about its 70th anniversary. That campaign, Muir said, may include taking a 70-pound, potato-shaped cake to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The cake would be made from potato flour to show the versatility of potatoes, Muir said. Austin could present it at the anniversary celebration, as well, Muir said.

Until then, consumers can catch Austin on two new television commercials that began airing in September, Muir said. The commercials are airing in about 23 major cities, primarily on the East Coast and in the Midwest, Muir said. In some markets, Muir said the commercials will run after the November elections conclude.

Along with a TV debut, Muir said the commercials appear on the commission’s Web site, www.idahopotato.com.

Muir said 2006 marks the third year that Austin has appeared in the commission’s commercials. Last season’s commercials associated Austin with MyPyramid.gov, but Muir said this season’s commercials feature Austin in her natural environment.

“The message behind these two commercials is, we’re putting Denise in her very familiar environment (of a fitness center),” Muir said.

Evans, Hardy+Young, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based advertising and public relations agency, produced the commercials. The commercials feature Austin exercising and talking about how Idaho potatoes are a daily part of her diet. In the commercials, Austin encourages consumers to look for the Grown in Idaho seal when shopping for potatoes. Austin also talks about how she exercises for 30 minutes each morning and eats three meals a day.

The campaign’s target audience is women aged 25-54, Muir said.