The U.S. Potato Board has begun a yearlong marketing campaign, “Five Seasons of Linda,” that targets a key demographic.
“Linda” represents women ages 25 to 54 with children under 18 at home, whose concerns include shared meals, nutrition and cost. They buy 40% of fresh potatoes, said David Fairbourn, manager of industry communications and policy for the Denver-based board.
The season-based campaign launched with a “Back on Track” theme that runs through October.
Other seasons are:
- “Plus-Up Potatoes” in November and December;
- “Nurture Me” in January and February;
- “Spring Ahead” from March through May; and
- “Lighten Up” from June to early August.
“We recognized there are more than four subdivisions of a year,” said Meredith Myers, public relations manager. “They’re marked by activities, special events or availability of foods and each is tied to routines or emotions. We used research to develop messages that reflect that.”
Myers includes herself in the demographic.
“Back on Track is not just about school. It’s about Linda getting back into a routine,” Myers said. “We’re planning meals and making lists. Potatoes are on that list. They’re the only fresh food in Linda’s pantry, and we know she’s cutting coupons and looking for ways to be frugal with her food dollars.”
The digital and social media side of the campaign began Aug. 24-27 at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Ore. Blogger Susan Schuman who developed pizza and Tuscan potato skillet recipes for the campaign, represented the board at the conference, attended by 300 other writers.
Schuman’s pizza with sliced potatoes, steak, blue cheese and rosemary was developed with an eye on variety.
“We want home cooks to think outside the roasted, mashed or baked potato,” she said.
The U.S. Potato Board’s photo contest on Pinterest runs into the second week of September. Schuman followed the bloggers conference with a live chat Aug. 29 on the board’s Potatoes, Taters and Spuds Facebook page. Social media themes are “Real Moms” and “Real Meals.”
The fall marketing push began when, in response to price concerns, the board announced potato supplies will be ample despite drought in the Midwest.
“The 2012 crop is at least 45,000 acres larger than 2011,” Fairbourn said. “Consumers do not need to worry about a short supply.”
A multimedia release with video and recipes also attracted attention.
“Combined they generated 36 million impressions within 24 hours,” said Myers. “We saw hundreds of online stories in places like the Denver Post and San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a bit higher than previous releases. Multimedia is definitely a powerful mode of communication.”
Materials for the fall season were also distributed in a new email newsletter for supermarket dieticians, Myers said.