SBD/August 4, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Best Spuds: Idaho Potato Commission Signs Deal To Title Sponsor Bowl Game In Boise

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The Idaho Potato Commission has signed a six-year deal to title sponsor the annual college football bowl game in Boise, now called the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The deal, renaming the former Humanitarian Bowl, begins immediately and runs through the '16 game. As part of the agreement, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will be featured in national and regional marketing campaigns conducted by the IPC. The '11 game will be played Dec. 17 (THE DAILY). In Boise, Chadd Cripe notes the bowl "had three years left on its title sponsorship with uDrove," but Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Exec Dir Kevin McDonald said that the company "agreed to step aside and will remain a sponsor at a lesser level." McDonald visited the IPC "earlier this year to try to sell a sponsorship but didn’t expect to find a new title sponsor." The bowl and commission "didn’t have a previous relationship." The IPC's newest ad campaign, "featuring fitness expert Denise Austin, will debut on ESPN during the Boise State-Georgia broadcast Sept. 3." Cripe notes the new title sponsorship "provides an obvious tie to the state, which was lacking in all of the bowl’s previous names since 1997" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 8/4). The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl marks the "fifth name change of the bowl, but it is only the second time since the bowl’s inception in 1997 that the bowl game will not use the Humanitarian Bowl name." Still, McDonald said that the game "will continue its tradition of hosting a Humanitarian Awards dinner during the week of the game" (IDAHO PRESS-TRIBUNE, 8/4).

WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT? YAHOO SPORTS' Graham Watson wrote, "The best part about the bowl, other than its name of course, is the logo -- a football, split open like a loaded baked potato completed with chives. Not sure anything could be more genius than that" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/3). CBSSPORTS.com's Adam Jacobi wrote the logo "really sets this bowl reboot on a high level." Jacobi: "They made the football a baked potato, then put chives on it. ... It would stand to reason, then, that there's a slightly crazy mascot that'll be at the game too. Probably an anthropomorphic potato with crazy eyes and limbs sticking out, and probably a funny hat" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/3). The bowl's new name and logo also fueled some commentary on Twitter. IMG Dir of Licensing Cameron Wright wrote, "Thrilled to begin the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl era. Reminds me of the legendary California Raisin Bowl. ... We need more bowl games named after starchy vegetables and less named after obscure county credit unions." CBS Sports' Patrick Southern: "I'm confused. Is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl a college football game or a new menu item at KFC?" SI's Andy Staples: "Forget that evil playoff. I'm so glad we can reward the student-athletes for all their hard work by sending them to the Potato Bowl." The L.A. Times' Chris Dufresene joked, "I envision huge problems/injuries for teams clinching bid to Potato bowl. throwing tostitos or roses one thing...." Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel: "The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Sometimes 'Death to the BCS' just writes itself."
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