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Stunt Tater, the charismatic Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) Facebook personality has drawn more than 10,000 fans from around the globe, with Mexico claiming the largest contingent outside the United States. Domestically, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York each contribute over 200 fans that track his daily posts.
The outgoing relative of the IPC Spuddy Buddy character (a cuddly plush toy), Stunt evolved with the IPC’s expanding online and social media initiatives that targeted a younger, Internet-savvy audience. Unlike Spuddy Buddy, Stunt talks directly to Idaho potato consumers via the Facebook page, and usually takes an unconventional and entertaining approach to messaging. His posts are often irreverent and humorous while communicating key IPC product benefits and industry positions.
For example, his most recent Facebook posts encompass his potato-centric interests: Lucha Libre Tater Tacos (vegetarian tacos filled with Idaho potato hash); French Fry shoes on Zazzle.com; Idaho’s amazing 2010 potato crop (11.3 billion pounds or 31 percent of the total U.S. production); innovative potato dishes from national culinary events; online games like “Bouncin’ Taters;” snaps taken with “Miss Idaho;” and his unique brand of potato philosophy. The “giveaway” section of Stunt’s page offers chances to win Idaho potato truck banks and Stunt Tater t-shirts, and his friends post pictures posing in their shirts or with their Stunt “squeezables.”
Of Stunt’s Facebook followers, 84percent of his followers are 13-17 years old, 90 percent are under 24. As busy as his audience, Stunt is launching a new web site –www.spudcenter.com – this month.
The Stunt Tater character is a compilation of still animation combined with human faces to deliver expression and speak the lines. The computer animation team at DTX Creative, Boise, Idaho, brought Stunt Tater to life from a character profile conceived by Don Odiorne, IPC VP of foodservice.
“We had a chance to get our feet wet with ‘conversational’ marketing, and found this medium much more cost-effective than many other methods,” said Odiorne. “The process has been an amazing learning experience while providing us with the opportunity to reach a whole new consumer demographic. From 1,000 followers last May, Stunt Tater’s popularity has been growing exponentially every week.”
The Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is primarily responsible for expanding the markets for Idaho-grown potatoes through advertising, promotion and research.