Why Potato Parcel's cofounder sent 150 NBA players personalized spuds

Riad Bekhit, chief potato officer, tells PRWeek that a marketing strategy was not baked into his decision.

Image via Dirk Nowitzki's Twitter page
Image via Dirk Nowitzki's Twitter page

SAN BRUNO, CA: Potato Parcel cofounder Riad Bekhit is the brains behind the idea to send 150 personalized spuds to NBA stars including Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant last week. He made the decision on a whim, with no strategy or expectations in mind.

This is the first time Potato Parcel has sent its product to influencers or celebrities and there was no particular reason behind the timing. The company did not work with a PR firm on this.

"I didn’t put too much thought into this or have any big goal for it," said Bekhit, who goes by the title chief potato officer. "I am a pretty big NBA fan. I follow these guys on social media and watch a lot of basketball."

He added that Potato Parcel is trying to grow its business and brand. The company’s founders appeared on Shark Tank last year, where Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called their idea "stupid on a stick."

Potato Parcel is a service that allows people to send anyone in the U.S., or internationally, a potato with a personalized message on it. Its website describes the product as a "quirky and hilarious alternative to the traditional card." The prices range from $9.99 to $14.99, depending on what customers want on their spud.

"Awareness is a big thing for us because we are still a very young company," Bekhit said.

Nowitzki was the first NBA player to post about receiving the customized potato in a Twitter post that has since become his most retweeted and liked tweet, Bekhit said. Nowitzki has more than 2.5 million followers on the social network.

Soon thereafter, such other players as Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside began posting potatoes they had been sent. Players and fans on social media were intrigued by the mystery of who was sending the potatoes, as the posts went viral.

"I didn’t expect [the NBA players] to tweet it out," said Bekhit. "Publications started picking it up after players posted about it."

News outlets including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today wrote about the stunt.

Bekhit explained that Potato Parcel has no immediate plans to do anything like this again.

"We have to figure out how we want to continue to approach marketing," he said.

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