In Marketing Shift, Potatoes USA Inspires Newbies To Prep Taters

While many households have stocked up on potatoes during the pandemic, it’s unlikely any have a personal potato chef who appears out of nowhere to explain myriad ways to prepare the much-loved vegetable.

Potatoes USA to the rescue.

A new campaign by the marketing organization for 2,500 U.S. commercial potato growers offers knowledge laced with levity.

What to do with that five-pound bag of russet spuds sitting on a counter is the quandary faced by Meg in this spot from The Sterling-Rice Group—until a know-it-all pops up in her kitchen.

“Where did you come from?” Meg asks. She gets no explanation, but in the space of a few seconds is presented with no fewer than six fully prepared potato concoctions from her mysterious visitor.

The campaign represents a shift for Potatoes USA, whose experiential consumer interactions have been sidelined by COVID-19.



Pre-pandemic, the organization’s advertising messaging had primarily focused on nutrition and how potatoes can enhance physical performance, according to Potatoes USA senior global marketing manager Jill Rittenberg.

“It was much more about the benefits—with a follow-up on the how-to,” Rittenberg tells Marketing Daily. Now, “it’s almost like they’ve kind of flipped places.”

On the experiential front, Potatoes USA has been the official “performance vegetable” of the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series—a series of road-running events where it distributes samples.

Turns out that Meg also is into performance—as shown in this spot in which she is hand-fed “nutrient-dense” potatoes while working out in her garage.

“It all starts with the love that people have for potatoes,” Eric Friedman, group account director at The Sterling-Rice Group, says of the campaign.

The target audience is primarily millennial and Gen Z consumers, many of whom have been “getting into the kitchen for the first time and starting to cook. This is really about how can we inspire and how can we help in those moments with dishes that are on-trend,” Friedman says.

The campaign spots are running on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Potatoes USA recently launched a related initiative aimed at foodservice chefs that includes an online educational curriculum about the basics of cooking potatoes.

Completion of the courses qualifies participants for continuing-education credits from both the Research Chef’s Association and the American Culinary Federation.

“Our goal is to teach, help and assist chefs really be able to learn and explore all of the basics of cooking with potatoes,” Friedman adds.

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