Albert Bartlett has pulled off arguably the unlikeliest advertising coup of the year by signing Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross as the new face of its Rooster potato brand.

Cross, who plays Bree Van De Kamp in the hit American TV show, is fronting a lighthearted ad in which a pushy agent tries to persuade her to promote the red potato brand. Initially appalled at the idea, the actress is ultimately convinced to film a short slot. It is Cross's first ad campaign in the UK.

Kicking off in the first week of October, the three-month, £3m campaign is Albert Bartlett's most expensive to date. Sixty-second, 40-second and 10-second versions of the ad have been filmed by Made of Honour and Mr Bean director Paul Weiland.

The whole range of fresh, chilled and frozen Rooster potatoes is being promoted, including new Rooster Chilled Mash, which will be launched in October.

The campaign, which is primarily targeted at 25 to 54-year-old housewives, would help attract younger consumers to the category, said Albert Bartlett marketing manager John Hicks.

"The creativity of this campaign will really appeal to the next generation of consumers," he said. "Most people will not expect to see Marcia in a potato commercial, which will make her impact even greater. She will definitely bring a much-needed touch of glamour to the fresh potato category."

Print advertising will run alongside the £24m brand's TV spots. It recorded 45% year-on-year growth to March 2009 and has a 2.5% share of the total potato market and 33% of the reds category.