Marketing 15 April 2015

Look behind the scenes of two recent potato campaigns

In several countries the potato consumption is decreasing. How do we as potato sector address that? In this article we will take a closer look at two recent potato campaigns, the French campaign ‘Another potato, another tasty transformation’ and the Dutch campaign ‘Power to the Pieper (tuber)’.

Same goal, different approach

The campaigns have a lot in common: they both evoke a sense of pleasure, make use of various media, reserve an important role for video and are long-term. But where the French campaign zooms in on the different uses of potatoes, the Dutch one responds to the trend of healthy eating. Quite logically, the initiators state, because every country requires its own approach.

“Advertising is the most effective and most efficient way of spreading a message to a wide target audience”

Carole Blandin, marketing and communications manager of the French National Interprofessional Potato Committee, explains: ‘Our goals are to add value to and improve the image of potatoes, to increase its presence in people's minds, and to anchor potatoes in people's eating habits so that they are eaten more often and have a more modern image. Our advertising campaign aims particularly to reaffirm that there are several widely used potato varieties, which can be chosen from depending on the meal you're cooking. Advertising is the most effective and most efficient way of spreading a message to a wide target audience, in a qualitative way that has great impact. That's why we kept the advertising campaign as the focus of our strategy. Other actions, of course, also complement this new advertising campaign.’

Within 5 weeks we reached 12.5 million contact moments,mostly through free publicity and social media

Arend Zeelenberg, Project leader Promotion at the Dutch Potato Organization, says: ‘Unfortunately, we didn’t have the budget to afford commercials on TV, radio or in newspapers. So we had to come up with something creative that would render free publicity. We developed a video that responds to the trend of healthy eating in a fun way. It was designed to go viral, and it did! To launch it, we organized a blogging event in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where we invited food bloggers with a lot of followers on social media. National papers, magazines, TV-shows and famous Dutch people paid attention to the event and our video. Within 5 weeks we reached 12.5 million contact moments, mostly through free publicity and social media.’

The campaigns in a nutshell

French campaign: 'Another potato, another tasty transformation'

  • To add value to and improve the image of potatoes
  • To increase their presence in peoples minds
  • To anchor potatoes in peoples eating habits
  • Reaffirm that there are several widely used potato varieties to choose from, depending on the meal you are cooking
  • Duration of the campaign is 3 years, until 2017.
  • Foundation is advertising; also website, social media, press releases, events, in-store communication, etc.
Another potato, another tasty transformation
French campaign
A break from traditional commercials? Read more about the French campaign.

'Common collective communication is at the heart of CNIPT's missions’, says Carole Blandin. ‘The new marketing campaign has been developed from the ideas produced by CNIPT's Promotion Committee, the members of which include representatives from each interprofessional member Federation. Suppliers' new expectations were taken into account. It was also important to redefine the target audience (age range 25-49) and to draw on the strengths of the previous marketing campaign: "Mashed potato? It's the best thing ever!"

Using the slogan "Another potato, another tasty transformation," the new marketing campaign roots its message in the public's collective imagination and highlights the various ways to eat and cook potatoes,' explains Carole Blandin. She adds: 'Tasting pleasure and the culinary variety of potatoes - the positive elements that made our last campaign so successful- are still present. The various ways of cooking and eating potatoes are additional selling points, which increase the sense of pleasure associated with eating potatoes. This strategy is reflected in our new television commercial, which features three widely-used potato varieties and the ways they can be served: steamed, fried, jacket potato, mashed potato, and chips. Filmed in 40-second, 20-second, and 10-second clips, these were shown on television and released online in February 2015.

In terms of advertising developments, the television commercial is a break from more traditional commercials for food products. This campaign combines a contemporary feel with an informative message, and conveys how there are various ways of cooking and eating potatoes, all while focusing on the dishes presented. In terms of strategy methods, the new marketing campaign has a panoramic reach, increasing the contact elements that complement the television commercial: website, social networks, press releases, events, but also advertisements in supermarkets and shops, which are re-launched within the context of this new campaign.

The first reactions from the public are positive,' Carole Blandin says. 'We were able to show the campaign at the International Agriculture Show in Paris at the end of February 2015. Information on the various ways of cooking and eating potatoes were shown at our stand, and the television commercial was also shown. The information was taken on board by our many visitors, and they loved the film. Like every year, the marketing campaign was tested afterwards on the general public by means of a survey. We look forward to reading the results.’

Dutch campaign: ‘Power to the Pieper’ (tuber)

  • First step: drawing attention to potatoes and make them more likeable
  • Then: add knowledge about nutritional values and use
  • Ultimately: stop potato sales from decreasing
  • Duration of the campaign is 3 years, until 2017
  • Foundation is viral video, bloggers event, social media and free publicity; but also posters outdoor, free cards, stickers on packaging.
Power to the Pieper
Dutch campaign
How do you make potatoes likeable? Read more about the Dutch campaign.

‘Beginning 2014, the Dutch Potato Organization, did market research on the use of potatoes’, tells Arend Zeelenberg. ‘How do you use potatoes? What do you know about them? Soon it became clear that most people know very little about potatoes anymore. For instance, that they have more nutritional values than pasta or rice (vitamin C and fibres), and at the same time have less calories. Also there was little knowledge about the different uses of potatoes, like in international dishes that are popular in the Netherlands. Remarkable, because people are very much interested in healthy food. Especially young people, who eat less potatoes than other age groups.

That raised the question how to work on knowledge of potatoes, while people don’t pay a lot of attention to them in the first place. Saying potatoes are healthy and tasty wouldn’t help, we first had draw attention to potatoes and make them likeable. This is our focus for now. Coming years we want to add knowledge, step by step.’

So how do you make a potato likeable? Arend Zeelenberg: ‘We chose a campaign that uses the trend of healthy eating in a humorous way. Our strategy was, due to the budget, to launch something that would inspire others to write about. The 9th of February we organized a bloggers event at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in collaboration with top chef Joris Bijdendijk. We launched our video there, aiming for it to go viral. Our idea was the food bloggers present would write about it and the video would be spread around the country by likes and retweets. Immediately after the event we saw it worked. Famous Dutch people like Jan Kooijman (actor) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Olympic Swimming Champion) picked up on it; and of course they have many followers. Also the Saturday edition of the Telegraaf (one of Holland’s’ bigger newspapers) and RTL Editie NL (a news show) paid attention to our campaign. Even a magazine for advertisers spend a whole page on it, the reviews of colleague communication agencies were very positive. Everything went even faster than we hoped, and soon we attained our aimed reach.

The next step is to review this success within our Promotion Team and discuss how to go from here. This team represents 29 potato related companies: breeders, processors, packers, and traders, which fund the campaign. It is quite special that they all work together in this three-year marketing campaign. Precisely that active involvement I see as a key success factor. Right now we are working on acquiring additional funds from Europe. This looks positive. If it works out, we can achieve even more the coming years’, Arend Zeelenberg concludes.

HZPC & potato campaigns

HZPC feels it is very important to work together in the chain on developing the potato market as a whole. In several countries potato consumption are declining. Addressing that issue as a sector, we consider to be necessary. Therefor we are willing to contribute to potato campaigns in several countries, including the recent two campaigns highlighted in this article, as we do also in a potato campaign in Spain, starting in the coming months.


In the upcoming Spanish campaign ‘Patatas nueva la nuesta’ (Our fresh potatoes) the radio will be an important medium. Radio is the second biggest medium in Spain; 9 out of 10 Spaniards listen to the radio. Starting mid-May a commercial will be broadcasted nationally on the availability of new Spanish potatoes. After three weeks this commercial will be followed by a commercial aimed at raising awareness on how healthy potatoes are. This commercial will run until October and will be supported by online and social media. The Spanish campaign has 60 participants at present, consisting of seed companies, merchants, packers and supermarkets.

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