Chipless In Paris, L.A., N.D.

Gray, Kirk Pokes Fun at Markets Without Utz
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In its first television advertising campaign in more than 12 years, Hanover, Pa.-based Utz Quality Foods has adopted a quirky, humorous tone to make fun of cities where Utz potato chips are not available.
Longtime agency Gray, Kirk Vansant of Baltimore has created three 10-second TV spots that break today. The ads will be seen in client markets including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.
In “France,” an over-the-top Frenchman complete with black beret cries alligator tears because there’s no Utz in Paris. In “L.A.,” a commuter similarly cries foul on his car phone (the voice is agency creative director Jeff Millman). And in “North Dakota,” a bundled up man throws snowballs to vent his raging anger that there is no Utz.

The themeline is: “Too bad for the rest of the world.”
The campaign will air for the 10-week peak summer season for potato chips, according to agency media executive Robin Rombro. Sources set the production budget at less than $50,000. Longer versions of “France” and “North Dakota” were developed in the hope that the campaign will continue after the season ends.
The “No Utz in Paris” concept began about five years ago, agency art director Ken Dennison explained. (The Utz potato chip television commercials mark Dennison’s first first foray into film direction on a Gray, Kirk Vansant project.)
The Utz advertising campaign began with a billboard effort in Baltimore. Outdoor signage displayed memorable, child-like drawings by illustrator Gary Baseman.
“People always remembered [the billboards],” said Dennison. “We always wanted to depict them on film.”
The billboard campaign eventually spread to edgy graffitti fare by artist Mark Smith in the South Bronx when Utz distribution cracked New York in 1996.
Production credits go to Millman, who was creative director and copywriter on the Utz TV ads, and art director Dennison.