McCain Foods USA is out with a new marketing ploy that plays off the upcoming presidential election to ramp up product sales.
The light-hearted campaign, which launches Friday, positions McCain Foods’ potatoes as a candidate consumers should consider. The company has high hopes shoppers will connect its name with that of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona as part of its political parody.
A print ad drops this week in USA Today, which directs people to a politically-themed Web site at www.mccainpotatoes.com. On the site, visitors can ask the “spokespotato” candidate, decked out in a suit and horned-rimmed glasses, questions and receive immediate responses. In addition, people can take weekly online polls, find product information and sign up for e-mail updates.
The site, which encourages people to “go for the blue bag,” also lets people read humorous responses from McCain Foods on key issues, such as the economy and the environment. For the economy, it says, “When you buy more McCain Potatoes, it creates more jobs. For us. What did you expect? Another stimulus check?”
Offline, McCain Foods tapped former “Mad TV” star and comedian Frank Caliendo as its campaign spokesperson. Caliendo will impersonate Sen. McCain during a national satellite and radio media tour and mention McCain potatoes during his “spud speeches.” In addition, Caliendo will hit the streets of Phoenix to campaign for McCain potatoes.
Video footage from the media tour will be posted on video sharing sites including YouTube, Revver, Yahoo Video and on www.mccainpotatoes.com.
“Our goal was to create a breakthrough campaign that accelerates our awareness-building efforts on behalf of our unique potato product line,” Frank Finn, senior vice president of commercial operations at McCain Foods USA, said in a statement.
Campaign advertising includes catchy phrases such as “McCain goes to war over oil” to promote McCain Foods’ elimination of trans fats from its fries and “McCain brings ‘smiles’ to millions” to raise awareness of its round smiley-face French fries.
McCain Foods isn’t the first company to make a marketing ploy off politics. Denny’s Restaurants launch a campaign this year that gets people to “Vote 4 Real” for its breakfast food over fast food competitors.
Schafer Condon Carter developed the campaign for McCain Foods. Print ads, PR and online marketing support the effort.