UMaine grad students work on potato promotion

Posted Aug. 29, 2008, at 9:07 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:18 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — For University of Maine students concluding the required residency week to receive their master’s degree in business administration, Friday was all about promoting the potato.

Dressed in professional attire, students in the program had fun with their assignment to assist a client, a newly elected Maine governor, fulfill his campaign promise to market the Maine potato.

Of the seven groups that submitted their strategies to professor Paul Mayer, each had a different plan that was presented both in print and a final video project.

Going For Gold held the potato Olympics, in which the Michael Phelps-like Maine potato took three gold medals in swimming and left the California and Idaho spuds in the dust.

“Can you tell us what stroke they were doing?” Mayer jokingly asked the group, congratulating them on their performance.

Another team’s video featured a Weird Al Yankovic song, “Addicted to Spuds,” that’s a take on Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.”

The final group did a spoof of the old Budweiser commercials from the ’90s by holding the Spud Bowl in which the Maine potato comes from behind to conquer the Idaho French fries. Their slogan: “Eat the Best or Get Mashed Like the Rest.”

The purpose of residency week, also referred to by students as boot camp, is to bring students together from a variety of career paths who have chosen to get their master’s in business administration.

The hands-on weeklong seminar immersed students in the major areas of business, such as marketing, accounting and finance. They also studied live cases and solved real business problems, such as how to promote the Maine potato.

Although each group created a humorous video, which will be posted on www.youtube.com, they were serious about reaching their target audience, developing a clear marketing plan, and successfully promoting the Maine potato.

“This is why I love marketing,” Mayer said, pleased with what he saw.

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