Pictured here, new potatoes at Happy Boy Farms’ booth at the farmers market.
If I had to pick a favorite vegetable for Miss America, it might be the humble potato. You can dress her up, you can dress her down: she is both Most Talented and Miss Congeniality. I have never tired of potatoes. and jones at the farmers markets when they are unavailable.
Getting an organic potato is VERY important—I wouldn't knowingly eat a conventional potato. Not just because, according to Pesticide.org, “14 of 41 commonly-used potato pesticides are classified as carcinogens by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pesticide residues on potatoes are common; 83 percent of potatoes sampled recently by the U. S. Department of Agriculture were contaminated with pesticides.” One farmer told me that these pesticides are so toxic that farm workers can't even go into a newly-sprayed field for two entire days. That's toxic.
Imagine my surprise when I received the following long-winded marketing pitch from Fleishman-Hillard, an advertising agency with international offices, representing the good ol' boys at the National Potato Board. How thoughtful is this? (It's long: consider yourselves forewarned—they spared no efforts in producing the most marketing-intensive pitch I've ever encountered, as thorough an example of media brainwashing as you might ever see.) Notes in red are my comments.
My name is Susannah Phillips and I am contacting I Heart Farms on behalf of the United States Potato Board. I wanted to get in touch with you because I thought the I Heart Farms audience would be interested in getting reacquainted with one of America’s most beloved characters this Thanksgiving – Healthy Mr. Potato Head. While reading I Heart Farms, I was struck by the stress that is placed on finding high quality, natural, fresh produce [emphasis mine—there are so many things wrong with that statement it's impossible to know where to start] and the also the [sic] need to increase consumer's awareness of the importance of produce and farming in the United States. It was primarily for this reason that I decided to send you this information from the United States Potato Board.
As Thanksgiving is the biggest potato consumption day of the year, I hope you’ll pass on these easy ways to help celebrate the holiday with the return of America’s most popular vegetable.
Made-over in 2005, Healthy Mr. Potato Head's new look celebrates his love of potatoes and highlights the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and the power of a balanced diet. Now armed with running shoes, baseball cap [I hope he's really cool and wears it backwards like, you know K-Fed...or Fed-Ex, as he's being referred to now], mp3 player, and water bottle, Healthy Mr. Potato Head follows up his 2005 debut by rejoining this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® line-up and setting up his very own headquarters in New York City and on the Web.
If celebrating Turkey Day in the Big Apple, be sure to head over to The Healthy Mr. Potato Head™ Quarters located in New York City’s food Mecca, Chelsea Market. Open the week of Thanksgiving, NYC headquarters will offer photo opportunities with a life-size [sorry, Susannah, you're not clear on the concept...“life-sized” means the size it is in actuality, not the size of a human being, unless that human being is life-sized], Healthy Mr. Potato Head, healthy potato recipe demos by popular chefs, an activity area where folks can learn the new Potato Power! song and dance, and much more.
For those not able to attend the New York City festivities, the accompanying Web site www.PotatoHeadQuarters.com [that's a grizzly way of capitalizing it, don't you think? Potato Head Quarters?] will be up and running throughout the 2006 holiday season. You can exchange holiday greetings with friends by creating an eCard with the Healthy Mr. Potato Head image, or download delicious potato recipes. Puzzles, trivia, and other games will make this site a great family holiday activity – or anyone with a sense of humor and an interest in eating and living well!
Below this email I’ve pasted a release on Healthy Mr. Potato Head's Thanksgiving appearances in New York City and online. If you have any questions I’ve not answered, I’d be happy to have them answered for you as soon as possible by representatives for the United States Potato Board. Please feel free to publish any of my email or the release below on I Heart Farms.
Don't hesitate to keep in touch if you have any other comments or questions - I'm happy to help. Please also let me know if you decide to share information about Healthy Mr. Potato Head with I Heart Farms readers. [Why, I'd be delighted.]
Susannah Phillips, on behalf of USPB
Susannah.Phillps@Fleishman.com <---- she doesn't spell her own name correctly, but I did in the live link
U.S. Potato Industry’s ‘Spokespud’ Pops Up in Unexpected Places this Holiday Season:
Potato-powered Web site launches to coincide with parade and pop-up store
Denver, CO (October 2, 2006) – To celebrate his love of potatoes and continue raising awareness about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and the power of a balanced diet, the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD character rejoins the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® line-up and opens his very own headquarters in New York City this November. [MR. POTATO HEAD DOESN'T ACTUALLY LOVE ANYONE OR ANYTHING. He is an imaginary character. Barney the stupid purple dinosaur, likewise, doesn't really “love” you when he sings that he does. If he loves you, let him come over and help you clean your house.] He’s even launching his own Web site [no, that would be the advertising agency who is launching everything] so that people who can’t make it to the New York parade can participate in all of the fun right from their own homes. The MR. POTATO HEAD character is licensed from the Hasbro Properties Group, the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS).
In 2005, the much-loved tuber got more physically active, donning a slick pair of running shoes, baseball cap, portable mp3 player, and water bottle, and debuted as a Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD balloon in last year’s parade. In closer touch with the natural health that’s always been within him [that is just a little too close to Too Much Information]— one medium-sized potato contains 100 calories and is fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free — the fit and improved Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD character even toned up with new muscles! [I don't know how to tell you this, Susannah, but potatoes are tubers, not animals. They do not have muscles.]
“America’s potato growers are proud that Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD can motivate people to eat right and get fit in a positive, light-hearted way. We saw from his involvement in last year’s parade that he’s tremendously popular with people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Randy Hardy, chairman of the United States Potato Board (USPB), sponsor of the balloon and related activities.
The response to the USPB’s new ‘spokespud’ was so overwhelmingly positive, and has resulted in a number of new festivities this year featuring everyone’s favorite tuber [See? Told you, he's a tuber!]. In fact, the USPB is creating a headquarters for the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD character and an interactive Web site; a full plate of fun is in store for the entire family – a plate that includes plenty of nutritious potatoes this holiday season!
Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters
Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters – both bricks-and-mortar and virtual versions – will each offer a one-stop shop for everything “potato” and promise to create fun holiday destinations for the whole family. The Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters store will be located in New York City’s food Mecca, Chelsea Market, for the week of Thanksgiving, and the Web site www.PotatoHeadQuarters.com will be up and running throughout the 2006 holiday season.
“The focus of Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters is the promotion of a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a nutritious diet,” explains Hardy. “Potatoes are naturally nutrient-rich. They are surprisingly full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for relatively few calories – 100 calories for a 5.3-ounce potato.”
“MR. POTATO HEAD™ is a true ambassador of good will [if, by “good will” you mean “we like to feed pesticides to children,” sure, Pol Pot, have at it] and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity for him to continue his ‘healthy’ [sic] lifestyle with the creation of the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters,” said Bryony Bouyer, senior vice president of the Americas, Hasbro Properties Group. “This is a great opportunity to showcase our favorite ‘spokespud’ while celebrating the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as the health benefits of potatoes.”
At different times, the headquarters will feature photo opportunities with a life-size Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD character, healthy potato recipe demos by popular chefs, an activity area where guests can learn the Potato Power! song and dance, a state-of-the-art potato varieties display, and much more. Hasbro plans to put its “corporate jewels” [are these related to the "family jewels"? I'd pay to see that!] on display: Swarovski crystal-encrusted models of MR. POTATO HEAD and MRS. POTATO HEAD. [Do you believe this crap? So you'll get Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III to come out of their penthouse in Manhattan?] This would be the first time that the crystal-encrusted models of MR. POTATO HEAD and MRS. POTATO HEAD have been on exhibit outside of the Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Admission to the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters will be free. [But they sure hope you buy something, especially the line of malarkey they're pimping about these pesticide-drenched spuds being healthy!]
“Potatoes are America’s favorite vegetable and Thanksgiving is the biggest potato consumption day of the year, with Americans enjoying an estimated 38 million pounds of spuds on this one day,” said Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of The Ultimate Potato Book and chefs who’ll be demonstrating healthy potato recipes in the Manhattan headquarters. “What could be more fun than celebrating this American staple by visiting the proposed headquarters or watching the balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?” [Oh, I don't know, Chef, giving pesticide-caused cancer to people who eat your food?]
Those who can’t make it to Midtown Manhattan this holiday season, may still get in on the action by visiting the Web site, www.PotatoHeadQuarters.com. This virtual headquarters will be filled with many of the same things featured in New York City as well as a few special extras. Visitors can exchange holiday greetings with friends by creating an eCard with the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD image, or download potato recipes created by Weinstein and Scarbrough. Puzzles, trivia, and other games will make this site a “must visit” for anyone with a sense of humor and an interest in eating and living well.
Stocking Stuffer and Recipe Brochure
Need a good excuse to play with your food? The complex carbohydrates from potatoes provide the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD character with enough potato power to run, jump, hike, skate, and climb his way into homes and desks [and minds...you must buy our message! You must buy our message!] across America. Plus, the mix-and-match possibilities are endless; the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD promotional premium comes with two sets of muscular arms bearing a water bottle and sports watch, handheld weight, and portable mp3 player, and he can sport a baseball cap or sweatband, running shoes, or roller blades to your liking. [I don't think that constitutes “endless” possibilities, Susannah.] This one-of-a-kind toy makes a motivational stocking stuffer [instead of coal, you mean?] or [a] little gift for friends who’d appreciate a fun reminder about the importance of an active lifestyle. [They mean “your fat friends.”]
To get your hands on the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD promotional premium, send in 2 UPC codes from fresh potato products along with name, address, and a check or money order made payable to 24/7 Incentives, Inc. for $7.50 (includes postage, shipping, and handling) to: Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD, [address edited out]. Please allow eight weeks for delivery. Offer only valid in continental U.S. Quantities are limited. [Thank God.]
Additional Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD facts and healthy potato recipe ideas are available at www.healthypotato.com.
To receive a free copy of the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD recipe brochure, send a self-addressed, business-sized, stamped envelope to:
Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD Recipes
[Address edited out: I'm not sending ANY traffic that way]
# # #
About the Hasbro Properties Group
The Hasbro Properties Group (HPG), the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro, Inc., (NYSE:HAS), translates one of the industry’s richest portfolios of brands into a world of fun and excitement for children and adults globally. Through a host of publishing, digital media, lifestyle and entertainment platforms, [and body-snatching] HPG is able to surround fans worldwide with consumer products that expand Hasbro’s core brands, such as TRANSFORMERS, LITTLEST PET SHOP, MY LITTLE PONY, MONOPOLY [and they mean it!], G.I. JOE, TONKA and PLAYSKOOL.
The United States Potato Board – Maximizing Return on Grower Investment
The United States Potato Board (USPB) was established in 1971 by a group of potato growers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. Recognized as an innovator in the produce marketing industry, the USPB was one of the first commodity groups to develop and use a nutrition label that was approved by the FDA. Based in Denver, Colorado, the USPB represents more than 6,000 potato growers and handlers across the country. In 2005, working with the Hasbro Properties Group, the USPB introduced its newest “spokespud,” [if you deconstruct that, it's actually “spokes pud”] the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ character during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® as a way to bring attention to the importance of an active lifestyle and healthy diet. In 2006, the Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD character will expand his role by opening his very own Healthy MR. POTATO HEAD™ Quarters store in New York City, along with launching the PotatoHeadQuarters.com Web site, to coincide with his second appearance in the parade. For more information about the USPB and its programs, visit [the ironically-named] www.healthypotato.com.
Thanks, Susannah, for the inspiration. Please accept my regrets: I won't be attending the marketing meeting/Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Please also accept a helpful hint, one which you researchers might already be aware of. Googling "potato pesticides" gives 1.2 million results. I didn't have time to go through them all, but it isn't looking good for promoting potatoes—conventionally grown potatoes—as "healthy."
Next time, maybe it also would be a good idea if you actually read the blog you were trying to engage as an arm of your advertising agency. I really don't think this is what you had in mind.
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There are a lot of bloggers who have written about Alan Richman's negative and ill-advised attack on the city of New Orleans in GQ magazine last month, decrying the shallowness of his piece, and the galling arrogance with which he dismissed the cuisine of the city—but who got there first (and best)? New Orleans resident Robert Peyton, who first revealed his disdain for Richman on October 24. On October 29, he wrote a scathing (and hilarious in places) piece called Alan Richman Is a Penis, I'm Immature, and This Is Long. People came out of the woodwork to bellybump Peyton, who today astonished me with an interview with Alan Richman. It is only mildly conciliatory, and Alan Richman takes his lumps rather well, for the most part. Not that this will make up for the original article he wrote, dissing New Orleans in GQ.
Good work, Robert.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?“ —Paul Sweeney
Thanks for visiting, loyal readers.