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    Idaho Potato Commish Posts Strong '06 Harvest; Bows New TV Spots

    EAGLE, Idaho - Just in time to welcome the freshest potatoes in the world to supermarkets across the country, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) based here is set to debut two new national television commercials featuring spokesperson and national fitness icon, Denise Austin, this month.

    EAGLE, Idaho - Just in time to welcome the freshest potatoes in the world to supermarkets across the country, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) based here is set to debut two new national television commercials featuring spokesperson and national fitness icon, Denise Austin, this month.

    Idaho Potato growers will harvest approximately 328,000 acres of Idaho Potatoes this year, yielding nearly 12 billion pounds.

    The overall appearance of the crop appears to be uniformly smooth and consistent, according to the IPC, which said the extremely warm weather in early August not only had no adverse affects on the crop, but may have in fact accelerated the harvest.

    Idaho Potatoes are particularly popular in New York State, which boasts the highest usage, followed by Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.

    In tandem with the fall harvest season is kicking into high gear, the IPC is preparing to launch two brand new national television commercials starring fitness icon Denise Austin. The new ads - slated to start running in cities across the country in September -- feature Denise in a relaxed gym-setting talking about all the reasons why she likes Idaho Potatoes.

    This is the third year in a row that Denise Austin, who stars in her own Lifetime Television Network exercise program ("Denise Austin's Daily Workout"), appears in commercials for Idaho potatoes.

    The new commercials' primary messages center on the numerous nutritional benefits of potatoes, and Austin also talks about the fact that many people assume that all potatoes are created equally. As she says in the new commercial, "A lot of people think all potatoes come from Idaho, but they don't. You have to look for the Grown in Idaho seal."

    A major tenet of the IPC is to promote the "Grown in Idaho" seal so that consumers actively look for the seal when they are in the supermarket. The commercial was produced by the IPC's advertising and public relations agency, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Evans, Hardy+Young.

    "We like the new ads because they present Denise in a casual setting - she is so passionate about eating well and living a fit life, that this new creative really captures her spirit and intensity," said Frank Muir, IPC's president and c.e.o. "She's proven to be a tireless advocate for staying away from diets that advocate eliminating certain foods or food groups and, instead, she talks about finding a balance and exercising to burn fat."

    The commercials are just one facet of the IPC-Austin alliance. The IPC is a major sponsor of her show and over the past year Austin has participated in multiple pro-carb initiatives designed to reach the general public with the "other side of the carb story." Last year, the IPC helped Austin launch her newest book called "Eat Carbs, Lose Weight," and later this month, the IPC will host a special event in New York City designed to celebrate the Idaho Potato harvest.

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