The Idaho Fruit and Vegetable Advertising Commission, the first official body to advertise fruits and vegetables from the Gem state, was created by the 1937 Idaho Legislature. It held its organizational meeting May 10, 1937, and the new law included potatoes, onions, apples, and prunes in the group of crops to be promoted.
Two weeks later, by majority vote of the Idaho Fruit and Vegetable Advertising Commission members, Cline Advertising Service of Boise (no longer in business) and Botsford, Constantine, and Gardner of Portland (now Ketchum Communications in San Francisco) were named as advertising agents. These two firms serviced and maintained the account until 1973 when Foote, Cone & Belding of San Francisco was selected to replace Ketchum.
The newly created Commission immediately embarked on a campaign to promote Idaho produce in newspapers, radio, and magazines throughout the country. The first advertising budget for Russets included $19,052 for newspaper ads and $2,612 for radio. Money to finance the program was to come from tax assessment of one cent per hundredweight paid entirely by the growers.
The first year, Idaho Russet potatoes were advertised in 53 newspapers and on radio in ten cities. In August of 1937, $1,000 was authorized for advertising in Restaurant Management magazine and $250 for menu inserts. An educational program on the proper handling and treatment of potatoes was implemented in the state of Idaho.
The promotion of the Idaho® potato was launched!
July 27, 1937, saw the first dealer serviceman, Lloyd Bell, approved by the Commission for work in California. With the steady growth of the industry and Commission programs, the field-merchandising activity has continued to grow in manpower and importance through the years.
The newspaper space budget had grown to $58,174by 1938 and was $77,743 in 1939.