Employees of Evans Hardy + Young marketing agency celebrate the Big Idaho Potato Truck during its first visit to Santa Barbara. This year, the 22-ton truck will visit 60 cities and travel 22,087 miles in a five-month period. (Chris Yasko / Evans Hardy + Young photo)

Award-winning, Santa Barbara-based, full-service marketing agency Evans Hardy + Young has been the agency of record for the Idaho Potato Commission for 16 years. And, for the last four of those years, the agency has helped create the biggest marketing initiative in the IPC’s history, the Big Idaho Potato Truck, a national phenomenon.

Through an engaging television advertising campaign that every year builds on a storyline about a real Idaho potato farmer who can’t find his truck, plus an aggressive public relations program, the Big Idaho Potato Truck has generated billions of media impressions to date.

The 72-foot-long truck is on its fourth cross-country tour and first visit to Santa Barbara. The agency welcomed the world’s largest potato on wheels by hosting a party at its office on De la Vina Street.

“Almost everyone in the office has contributed to the success of the truck in some way — whether it’s the creative team that creates the commercials, the PR department that garners national news coverage, or our media group that buys the advertising, plus all our other support services,” said Dennis Hardy, president and CEO of Evans Hardy + Young. “It’s been an incredible and rewarding experience for all of us to work on such a unique project and watch it turn into a hugely successful campaign that has been covered by the Today show, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and many others.”

The Big Idaho Potato Truck made its debut in 2011 in celebration of the IPC’s 75th anniversary. This year, the 22-ton truck will visit 60 cities and travel 22,087 miles in a five-month period. While in Santa Barbara, EHY pulled out all the stops to make the Truck and Tater Team, the trio that tours with the Truck, feel right at home with burgers and fries from the Burger Bus, refreshments, live music by the Adam Phillips Band, and a big helping of down home, over-the-road fun!

If you’re wondering just how big the Big Idaho Potato Truck is: 

» It tips the scales at over 22 tons.

» The Big Idaho Potato would take more than 10,000 years to grow.

» The Big Idaho Potato is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed about 11 pounds.

» Plan on waiting two years and nine months for the Big Idaho Potato to bake.

» Or, if you have a large crowd to feed, the Big Idaho Potato would make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes and more than 1.4 million (1,455,570) average-sized fries!

Established in 1937, the IPC is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho” seal, a federally registered certification mark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil, give Idaho Potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, that differentiates Idaho potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

Evans Hardy + Young is a full-service advertising, public relations and digital services agency that specializes in the consumer products, hospitality and destination categories. In addition to the Idaho Potato Commission, other EHY clients include the Chumash Casino Resort, California Walnut Board, the National Honey Board and others. Click here for more information.

— Candice Nyholt is a publicist representing Evans Hardy + Young.