Guelph-developed Yukon Gold potatoes highlighted in new food delivery ad with Jon Hamm
Yukon Gold one of University of Guelph's pride and joys, research technician says
The ad opens with actor Jon Hamm lounging on a couch, wearing a white sweater with a red maple leaf on it and eating French fries.
He asks his assistant Brandon to order more of "these Yukon Gold fries" from food deliver service Skip The Dishes.
"Yukon's greatest creation," Brandon says, to which Hamm replies with a laugh, "Everyone knows these were invented in Guelph."
The ad was released on Sept. 16 and the University of Guelph, where the potato variety was developed, is pleased they're part of the ad.
"It's one of the pride and joys of the university and one of its most famous and successful developments," says Vanessa Currie, a research technician in plant agriculture at the university.
The Yukon Gold was developed by Gary Johnston in 1966 when he bred two kinds of potatoes together to get the unique look and sweet flavour of the Yukon Gold. Canadian potato farmers began growing the potato variety in 1981.
The name, Currie says, comes from a "gentleman's agreement" that potatoes would be named after bodies of water, so Johnston used the Yukon River. He also used the colour of the potato to come up with the gold part of the name.
Currie says Johnston was very proud of the potato and it became the first potato variety in Canada to be marketed by its name.
"I guess it's kind of a funny thing because when you think of Jon Hamm you think of [the TV show] Mad Men right? And marketing and promoting and in a way Gary was the original Don Draper of potato marketing," Currie said. Don Draper is the character Hamm played in the show.
"He saw an opportunity, something creative and special and a way to promote the you know the humble potato into being something unique and different and of higher value."
Skip The Dishes said in a release the ad features "honourary Canadian Jon Hamm" and his knowledge about Yukon Gold potatoes shows him "doubling-down on his Canadian-ness."
The company, which has its headquarters in Winnipeg, also noted the commercial is a tribute to its "Canadian roots."