Potato nation

No matter their quality – or ‘health benefits’ – the products we in the fresh produce business handle must still compete for a spot in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Success here will, of course, be felt on the market floor, with increased demand. This brings us to the innovative promotional campaign recently launched by Potatoes SA (PSA). The potato might be the single largest crop in this country, but it finds itself up against some stiff competition from rice, pasta and other similar foods. It still needs to be ‘marketed’ in the advertising sense, and PSA’s ‘Potato Nation’ campaign is vibrant, funky and extols the many lekker things about being South African.

Youth
The PSA’s brief to its advertising agency was to develop a campaign that appeals to young South Africans and an in-store retail campaign that increases potato sales as well as educates consumers on potato facts. According to Revolution Brand Activists, the agency behind the campaign, the segment aimed at the youth has already yielded excellent results. Students on 18 campuses in Gauteng were encouraged to join the Potato Nation via www.potatonation.co.za, and social media such as YouTube and Facebook were also used.

Playing on the Zulu word for potato, ‘izambane’, the in-store campaign created a ‘King Zamban’. Initial results in selected Gauteng stores showed potato sales increasing by 30% in most stores. ‘Selling’ King Zamban to the nation will be a challenge, but PSA and its ad agency seem to have hit the spot with a brand South Africans can identify with.

“The potato brand must be a singular brand or concept that the youth own and appeals to both their heart and mind,” explains the agency. In the highly competitive retail environment, the positioning of a brand in the consumer’s mind and its success are vitally important.

I like the campaign’s twin objectives – reaching the youth while still promoting sales and educating consumers. With the retail giants involved it’s likely to expand throughout the country and can only be good for potato sales, which will benefit farmers and markets. Helping the nation increase its per capita consumption of potatoes above the current 34kg per annum would be a wonderful spin-off from this campaign.

Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.