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The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is in the second year of a three-year partnership with Olympic gold medalist and PEI native Heather Moyse, and the organization could not be happier.

Ms. Moyse has been the anchor of a successful public relations campaign with the message that potatoes are a nutritious choice for health-conscious consumers.

When developing the campaign, the board knew it needed to find a person with a strong connection to PEI for branding purposes.

That same person also had to be able to send a strong health message to combat some of the negative impressions about the nutritional value of potatoes.

Kendra Mills, marketing director for PEI Potatoes, said Ms. Moyse was a natural choice.

HeatherMoyse2 PotatoBasketHeather Moyse, Olympic gold medalist and brand ambassador, has a fun and approachable personality, which makes the Prince Edward Island native a big draw at conventions. (Photo courtesy of Kendra Mills, PEI Potatoes)“We believe Heather Moyse truly exemplifies our ‘PEI Potatoes’ brand. We are from the smallest province, but our potato growers share the same commitment to excellence that Heather displays on the sports field. The blood, sweat, heart, soul, pride, work ethic and passion of Island potato farmers is what makes this industry turn, and it is these same characteristics that have made Heather a role model both on and off the playing field. Heather truly is our homegrown hero,” said Ms. Mills.

Ms. Moyse and her teammate Kaillie Humphries were gold medalists in women’s bobsled at Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Ms. Humphries hails from Alberta, leading to the teammates often being referred to as “Steak and Potatoes.”

Ms. Moyse is also a member of Canada’s senior rugby team. This strong sports background makes her very recognizable in her home province and gives her credibility as a spokeswoman for a health-conscious lifestyle. On top of that, at age 34 the athlete connects to the campaign’s young and busy target audience.

The campaign has several components. One element is Ms. Moyse-tested tear-away recipes on branded bags of potatoes. The athlete has also filmed videos in which she dresses up classic recipes at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, PEI. Ms. Mills said the fact that Ms. Moyse is not a professional chef is a plus, as that is in keeping with her approachable image.

The personable Ms. Moyse is a huge draw on the press junket for PEI Potatoes, bringing her medal with her as she talks about her sports career and involvement with the potato board. She will be at this year’s CPMA convention in Toronto at Booth 801. Ms. Moyse will be part of a meet and greet, complete with the opportunity for a photo with the gold medalist.

Next year’s promotion will look similar to last year’s, though the video component may shift emphasis. The campaign will gear up as the 2014 Olympics draw closer.

Ms. Mills noted the potato board did an overview of the media value generated from Moyse-anchored events. The aggregate value of all her brand ambassador activities was excellent, making the campaign very successful.

The athlete’s social media presence is particularly valuable. “She is an excellent representative for our industry,” said Ms. Mills.

Both PEI Potatoes and Ms. Moyse can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Pinterest. The Pinterest activities are just getting going and currently focus on sharing photos, recipes and images of Ms. Moyse in the news.

To check out PEI Potatoes promotions on social media, the potato board’s Twitter address is @peipotatoes, while Ms. Moyse’s is @heathermoyse. You can also visit their Pinterest boards at pinterest.com/peipotato and pinterest.com/heathermoyse. PEI Potatoes has a Facebook page as well.