The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association has a new vehicle for promotions ... literally. After years of discussions and planning, the Spudmobile is finally in motion.
“It’s something that will add value to the industry,” said Mike Carter, CEO of Bushmans’ Inc., Rosholt, Wis. “It highlights what we do as Wisconsin potato growers. It’s something that will help us educate consumers and promote the product.”
Dana Rady, director of promotions, communication and consumer education for the Antigo-based WPVGA, said the customized RV will be “a traveling billboard” for the industry, averaging at least 10,000 miles a year. The Spudmobile is expected to make its debut Aug. 12-14 at Farm Technology Days in Portage County.
The Spudmobile has been in development for about four years. Rady said that long process gave WPVGA time to save for the “significant investment” and allowed plenty of time to gather input and get a final product that is “exactly what the industry wants.”
The Spudmobile will have a wrap on the outside of the vehicle with information about the industry as well as exhibits inside the vehicle, including information regarding how growers are stewards of the environment, the field-to-fork process, where potatoes are grown in the state, the history of the industry in Wisconsin, videos that highlight the science of growing potatoes and interactive games for kids.
Rady said up to 20 people can view the exhibits at a time, and it takes less than 20 minutes to complete the tour.
“It’s an exciting opportunity in terms of education and promotion,” said Larry Alsum, President and CEO of Alsum Farms & Produce Inc., Friesland, Wis.
Rady said WPVGA already has had several requests for the Spudmobile to appear at events, and she said the vehicle could appear at schools, grocery stores, state fairs, trade shows and more.
“Any and every family event you can imagine, we hope to take it there,” she said.
She said the Spudmobile definitely will appear at Green Bay Packers football games and also may appear at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games.
Rady said much of the WPVGA’s overall promotional efforts this season will be connected to the Spudmobile’s appearances.
“Advertising will be focused around where the vehicle will be,” Rady said. “This has been a main focus of our promotional efforts, and a lot of it is still in the works. We’ve been holding off on things until the vehicle is ready.”
Alsum said the Spudmobile ultimately could travel throughout the Midwest, but its 2014-15 schedule likely will focus primarily on Wisconsin.
“A lot of our potatoes stay in Wisconsin and the Midwest,” he said. “We’re appreciative of the business we have in places like Minnesota and Illinois, and we hope to get into neighboring states, but there’s a lot of opportunities for education and promotion in our home state.”