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Gilligan’s Island’s Dawn Wells Generates 10 Million Viewers For Idaho Potato Commission

The Idaho Potato Commission is rightly trumpeting a marketing tool gone viral:

Dawn Wells’ Famous Potato Peeling Video Viewed By More Than 10 Million!

About two years ago, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) created a video of Dawn Wells (aka Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island) peeling an Idaho® potato without a peeler

The video was used to launch a successful contest on YouTube. Although the contest has ended, Dawn’s video has taken on a viral life of its own and is making its way around the globe. To date, it has been enjoyed by more than 10.1 million viewers, and the number of views is increasing exponentially. What makes this video even more remarkable is that less than 1% of all videos on YouTube receive 1 million views!

This entertaining potato peeling piece stars Dawn in her home kitchen removing the skin of an Idaho® potato using hot and cold water — resulting in a perfectly peeled potato. As she narrates the segment, she makes several amusing references to her days on Gilligan’s Island.

The popularity of the video is a great tribute to the iconic and loveable “Mary Ann” and the world’s most famous potato, the Idaho® potato.

It is impossible to know if the viewers wanted to learn about Idaho potatoes or wanted to see Dawn Wells — a former Miss Nevada and Miss America contestant in 1960 who won fame as Mary Ann, the perky “girl next door” on Gilligan’s Island — at the age of about 70 when the video was released (she is now 71).

Whatever the motivation, the farmers of Idaho potatoes couldn’t do anything but help themselves with the subliminal message that if you eat Idaho potatoes you’ll look like this at 70 as well.

Plus in answer to what US News & World Report called “the eternal question,” men have always preferred, and women identified with, the farm girl Mary Ann as opposed to the movie star Ginger from the same show.

Besides, Dawn Wells is authentic. She really lives in Idaho, wrote Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook and dedicates her love of cooking to her mother.

Though some seem to think the idea of peeling a potato by boiling it and then putting it in ice water is wasteful of time and energy, we thought it a pretty nifty trick. Though we suppose one potato is not very hard to peel, this trick would really help consumers who want to make mashed potatoes or another dish with several potatoes at one time.

With our aging population, it also occurs to us that such a method could really help elderly people who, due to arthritis or other ailment, may have trouble peeling even one potato.

Although we have to confess that the Momma Pundit always taught her tots to eat the skin — she said it had lots of good nutritional value — we think this video passes the test of not only being popular but providing real useful value that can actually lead to higher consumption.

See the Idaho potato video here:

And the Original Intro to Gilligan’s Island here. Note that on this, the original version, Mary Ann and the Professor are not shown or mentioned… just referred to as the “rest” — it was only with the growing popularity of the characters and, supposedly with the urging of Bob Denver, who played Gilligan, that the song was adjusted for the second season:

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