McCain Foods ‘runs for office’

McCain Foods is taking advantage of the similarity between its name and Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s by introducing its own mock candidate for the upcoming presidential election — a potato.

The tongue-in-cheek campaign kicked off last week with a full-page ad in USA Today featuring the headline: “Why McCain should be in the White House.” The copy outlines McCain Foods’ plat­form, which includes encouraging con­sumers to make a stand against “potatoes as usual” by opting for more interesting potato products from McCain.

The food maker seeks “to carve out a position as being unique, and differ­ent from the everyday potato supplier,” said Frank Finn, SVP of com­mercial operations at McCain Foods. The campaign was designed to “bring some fun and excitement to being the bolder choice,” he said.

McCain tested the concept locally before rolling it out nationally. Finn said that the company found that people “understood the spoofing nature of the campaign.”

The campaign targets young mothers, not people of any particular political affiliation. “We’re not endorsing either candidate, but our products,” Finn added. The goal is “to intrigue moms and get them to vote [for their favorite potato products] by reaching for McCain,” he explained.

A Web site,, will launch this Friday. Developed by Schafer Condon Carter, the mock news site will feature an animated “spokestater.” Visitors can view videos, as well as read product news and infor­mation about the campaign.

“This is the first time we’ve used the Web to support a cam­paign,” Finn noted.

The Web site will be supported with banner ads touting “breaking news” from the campaign. Ads will click through to the site.

The campaign also includes a satellite and radio media tour with comedian Frank Caliendo, who will impersonate McCain the candidate and discuss topical issues, including trans fat-free oil.

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