The Second Annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl game, of which the Idaho Potato Commission in Eagle, ID, is the title sponsor, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15 on the famous blue turf of Boise State University’s Bronco Stadium in Boise.
Twenty-fifth-ranked Utah State University, which was defeated in the first Famous Idaho Potato Bowl face-off in the final seconds of last year’s game by Ohio State after having led the entire game, will be back determined to emerge victorious this year.
The other contender was undetermined at this writing, but would be from the Mid-America Conference. The MAC championship game was scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30, between Kent State and Northern Illinois, both of which were going into the games with BCS rankings, so it appeared likely that “we could have two BCS-ranked teams in this bowl game,” IPC President Frank Muir told The Produce News.
Sponsorship of the bowl game, which was previously known as the Humanitarian Bowl, has proven to be a phenomenal public relations success for the commission. Last year, from the time that the sponsorship was announced until the actual event took place, “we generated from all the publicity… over 4 billion media impressions, from the game and everything associated with it,” Mr. Muir said. Along with that, “we had significant support from other industry members and they are very much involved again this year. Several have actually increased their sponsorships, so it is becoming a great success story already, in just the beginning of its second year.”
Whatever the weather for the game, he said, “we’ve got two teams that have played in all kinds of weather. They don’t play inside in an indoor stadiums, and they both compete in snow country. So I think whoever comes from the MAC will be prepared to do battle with Utah State, and I think it will be an incredible game.”
The bowl game is just one of two fabulously successful PR generators for the IPC during the past year. The other is the nationwide tour of “our great big Famous Idaho Potato truck,” which actually premiered at the first Famous Idaho Potato Bowl game in 2011. The just completed tour covered 150 cities in 37 states, making stops at famous landmarks and at supermarkets.
The truck tour also generated “probably well in excess of 4 billion media impressions,” Mr. Muir said. Television crews showed up in every city, and onlookers took pictures with cameras and cell phones everywhere the truck went, often posting the photos on Facebook or YouTube. “It has been absolutely amazing how well this potato truck has been received around the country,” he said.
“We consider this a huge success” and will be “rolling it out” for a second nationwide tour in 2013.
“We try to leverage everything to try to get the biggest bang out of our dollars,” Mr. Muir said. The truck will be parked outside the stadium during the bowl game. ESPN will broadcast the game. More than 2 million people will see it on television. “Then when we are out with the truck driving around the country, we have the logo of the Idaho Potato Bowl” painted on the side of the truck, along with other logos such as Meals on Wheels, which the commission is supporting, and the American Heart Association’s Heart Check Mark, which Idaho Potatoes are authorized to display.
During the bowl game, the commission will air six commercials on national TV. One will be a welcome message, which Mr. Muir will be doing, against an animated blue-screen background, interviewed by a “common tater.”