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utz Baked Cheese Curls

March 6, 2009

Sample #4

It was really beginning to snow and I had already found 2 other items of interest in a half-mile stroll when I happened upon this “utz Baked Cheese Curls” bag very tightly crumpled up in a ball at 6:57pm. It was discarded on the sidewalk along the west-bound side of North Ave. between Howard St. and Maryland, just east of the North Ave. Motel in front of the Ronald Taylor, II Funeral Home.

I actually thought twice about keeping this sample since it wasn’t a terribly unique find, but in the interest of the project I decided I’d better hang onto it since it is at least remotely specific to Baltimore in my mind. Plus it might be nice to start seeing how many different utz products I can collect.

Perhaps the best part of this find was the fact that it was so precisely crumpled, a nice effect that only a found sample of this kind can deliver. I can very easily imagine the distinctly stressful circumstances behind the crumpling of this bag, given the often angry, tension-filled, and frequently off-putting behavior of people on Baltimore streets. Whomever crumpled this bag may have very well been a victim of, or contributor to that atmosphere.

As far as branding goes, the number one triumph of utz has always been their logo. A girl with a giant bow in her hair, snacking on a bag of this or that utz product can certainly appeal to a wide ranging audience… Little girls for starters, boys that like girls, girls that like girls, boys that like boys – but whom find girls cute and fun, boys and girls (within the wide spectrum of sexual preferences) that like snacks… you see where I am going with this? Who doesn’t the utz girl appeal to? Plus, isn’t it completely awesome that she has a matching outfit (and magical compact containing every imaginable color of blush) for each utz product color combination? This girl really has her closet together! So let’s not forget the fashionistas out there with similar closet skills whom utz must also appeal to. Whew! I think that pretty much covers everybody.

FRONT ///

So in terms of design, at least we have that success to crown this package with from the beginning… That being said what immediately bothers me about this package design is the “Cheese Curls” type. While not obnoxiously offensive, a type choice with a tad bit more sophistication would give the product name a helpful boost in the “Cheese” arena. I say that with the belief that whomever chose this font was surely hung up on the “Curls” portion of the phrase “Cheese Curls.”

“Baked” itself could use some help from the type fairy… And what of the cyclone enrapturing the photo of the “actual” Cheese Curls? Does anyone else find the jagged, tribal, somewhat mid 90’s aesthetic of the stroke a little unnecessary? I understand that Cheese Curls by their nature are festive snacks, but that’s no reason to “go wild” with silly jazzed-up line effects. Nevertheless I have seen far worse “tribalization” of design elsewhere so I will let utz off easy with a warning this time.

As far as pros go, the large swaths of orange and blue on the package provide for some nice breathing room. Plus I really enjoy the small, yet crucial detail of the cheese wedge mimicking the sweeping cyclone movement of swirling lines surrounding the photo. Ultimately, despite its offenses and all together uninspired design, the utz logo and the large empty spaces of saturated blue and orange keep this package from teetering on the brink of uncool.

BACK ///

Concerning the design of the back of this package, I don’t really think it’s worth going into too much detail, except to say that I love the development of the utz girl’s personality with the additional illustration of her. All things considered, it’s a pretty fair interpretation of her appearance and body language as derived from the logo. This really makes me wish utz would push the development of her character into other arenas! Imagine what that could do for them from a marketing perspective beyond snack foods. Wouldn’t you want an utz girl action figure, or doll? hmm… perhaps I’ve said too much.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 8, 2009 10:23 PM

    I have to say, I think the logo variation on the back is (by far!) my favorite part of this package!

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