• Transform magazine
  • December 13, 2017

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Sowing the seeds for instant mash brand

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In the United States, the state of Idaho is synonymous with the potato. The ‘Grown in Idaho’ designation has achieved awareness across the country. And Idahoan Foods has used that to its advantage in the development and sale of dehydrated potato products that are entirely sourced from Idaho potatoes. The association, for Americans, is implicit; good potatoes equals good instant mash.

But, in the UK – ever a tater-loving land – Idahoan has two challenges. The first is the lack of recognition around the ‘Grown in Idaho’ designation. The second, instant mash isn’t exactly at the top of the average shopper’s grocery lists. The reasonably popular Smash brand, owned by Cadbury, sells 140m products per year. Not too bad. But, for a product whose heyday was in decades past, the category may be a bit underloved across Britain.

Hoping to make a splash against Smash and other brands, Idahoan is breaking into the UK market. Working with brand agency Aesop on a PR campaign, adverts and brand, Idahoan is trying to make change in the category.

“Idahoan is a very different product from the instant mash UK consumers are familiar with,” Roger Hart, CEO of Aesop Agency, says. “We wanted to showcase its premium credentials while drawing a link between the US and the UK. A story that takes you from Idaho to Brighton and beyond.”

The packaging does that – with subtle nods to the potatoes’ roots in Idaho’s glacier-hewn valleys – but so too do the films. Each advert begins the same way, with a sweeping history of Idaho potatoes, building awareness of their quality, but each ends in a uniquely British way – with humour. The 30 second spots are quirky, while uniting both the American heritage of the Idahoan brand with the British future it is trying to sow.

“Idahoan Perfect Mash is all about quality and convenience and we are proud to bring a taste of the American potato state to the UK. We have big ambitions for the brand and are thrilled that Idahoan has been embraced so enthusiastically by the UK consumer,” says Ryan Ellis, retail marketing director for Idahoan.

With the strapline ‘because ingredients matter,’ the 57 year old brand is ripe for pastures new.