The promotion is being co-funded by the EU, which is providing EUR1.8m (£1.3m) over the campaign's three-year lifespan.
The first burst of joint promotional activity begins on 5 October and will primarily be aimed at women aged between 25 and 34. According to AHDB Potatoes head of marketing and corporate affairs Nick White, many women in this age bracket shy away from potatoes in the belief that they are fattening.
"That's their first association with potatoes," said White. "So the big message is that potatoes are naturally fat-free." He added that many people do not realise that potatoes can be cooked in just 20-25 minutes, so the campaign is also focusing on recipes that can be prepared in this time.
Fun and impactful advertising will run in high-profile lifestyle magazines (Now, Closer and Heat) as well as on digital channels (MailOnline), using a cheeky potato character and a "hero dish" to show that potatoes are "more than a bit on the side". This message will be reinforced by extensive social media activity, blogger and "vlogger" partnerships, recipe development and a nationwide PR campaign.
White said: "We have put together a highly visible programme that will engage with a core audience of young females, who are the most infrequent purchasers of potatoes. It includes a mix of traditional tactics such as advertising and PR combined with great social media and digital content. In addition, we're building partnerships with influential people and other advocates that are active in health, cookery and fitness. This integrated campaign will ensure we reach consumers at every opportunity, instilling positive shopping and eating habits that will benefit the industry both now and in the long term."
He added that an ongoing press office will be feeding new recipes through the Love Potatoes website at www.lovepotatoes.co.uk. "The site has 60-70,000 unique visits a month," said White. "We want to improve that."
Ahead of the campaign's launch next month, AHDB Potatoes is encouraging the industry to show its support to maximise its impact. "Although this will be a high-profile campaign it will have even greater impact if growers, packers, retailers and distributors get behind it," said White. "We will have free promotional tools available as part of our One Voice initiative."
These will include themed artwork, new quick-cook recipes, key nutritional messages and a YouTube video of the potato character, all of which can be shared across platforms. Full details and access to the material can be found at www.potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/onevoice.
How to help - Practical measures for growers to support campaign
- Request and use advertising artwork on websites, newsletters, packaging and vehicles.
- Share quick and easy recipe ideas, key nutritional messages and animated YouTube potato video on websites and social media channels.
- Urge consumers to follow the campaign’s partner bloggers and vloggers.
- Use #morethanabitontheside when talking about potatoes on Twitter.
- Drive traffic to www.lovepotatoes.co.uk for further information and inspiration.