Utz Lets Chips Fall MGH’s Way

After a second-place finish in an account review a year ago, then working on projects for the client this year, MGH Advertising of Baltimore last week was named the advertising agency for Utz Quality Foods.
The ad account, with billings of $1 million, had been with another Baltimore agency, Gray, Kirk Vansant.
Utz, located in Hanover, Pa., sells potato chips, pretzels, popcorn and cheese-flavored snacks from New York down into the Carolinas. MGH has been tapped for creative services, media buying and planning.
“There wasn’t a formal review,” said agency president Andy Malis. “We’d done some project work–some public relations and a little advertising [for the client]. We stayed in touch with them, and about six weeks ago they called us and said they were thinking of making a change.”
Malis added that the account was not formally placed into review.
The key to the agency’s future on the business will be its ability to help the client stretch its modest advertising budget against better-funded brands.
“Last year they only advertised in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.,” said Malis. “They felt they needed a presence in some of the smaller markets [in 1999], so we went into them with a different television strategy. We’re going to run TV only in New York and a combination of radio, outdoor and FSIs in the other markets.”
Malis said the account acquisition, which puts his three-year-old agency at the $33 million mark, was welcomed because it offers the staff a chance to work on packaged-goods advertising.
“Utz is an institution here,” he said. “It’s a brand I grew up with.”
MGH Advertising will continue to use the previous agency’s marketing positioning, “Too bad for the rest of the world.” The inference is that consumers living outside of Utz’ distribution territories are to be pitied because they cannot enjoy the client’s snack foods.