There’s a new Utz girl in town. And she’s creating quite the stir.
The popular chip company rolled out a new advertisement campaign this month featuring an animated version of “the Little Utz Girl” in a series of videos. The company even changed its social media profile pictures to the animated girl — rather than the iconic logo. And that’s when the uproar started.
“The Little Utz Girl you know and love is jumping off packages and sharing her adventures in a new series of animated short-stories,” the Facebook post read. “So, tell us what do you think?”
Facebook users took to the comment section to share their dislike for the new girl in town. And it didn’t go over very well with the Baltimore Reddit community.
Alexander Enten, 37, from Towson said the animation is “creepy.”
“It looks like they are desperately trying to get ‘millennials,’" Enten told The Baltimore Sun. “[Utz] watched some kids’ YouTube (videos), and dumped the classic Utz girl, who is an icon. It seems cynical.”
Though Utz is based in Hanover, Pa., when creators Bill and Salie Utz began making chips in 1921, they sold chips to local grocers and markets in Baltimore. Between that and “the crab chip,” it became a staple that the city loved to claim as its own.
The Utz girl is so loved by Baltimoreans, there used to be a billboard along Interstate 83 from Timonium-based Smyth Jewelers capturing Mr. Boh, of National Bohemian fame, on one knee proposing to the hair-ribboned Miss Utz with a ring and the slogan "Where Baltimore gets engaged."
Enten said he proposed to his wife during the campaign and still keeps the Smyth magnet on his fridge. Now he just feels weird about it.
The company said the Utz girl, who was “born” without a name, will share what’s important about the company through a series of 15 videos that will last about 30 seconds.
“The Little Utz Girl represents our nearly 100-year heritage and embodies everything important about Utz,” CEO Dylan Lissette said. “She has a big heart and mischievous spirit too.”
Phillip Doccolo, 33, said the new animation helped him realize how much the character meant to him.
“I always had Utz chips in my lunch as a kid and seeing her iconic image always gave me a sense of belonging to an area,” the Hamilton resident said. “I was surprised by how much the new look bothered me, but it made me realize how important the traditional image was.”
Baltimoreans won’t be seeing the animated girl on TV. Right now, commercials are only broadcast in the Pennsylvania area. But those who want to see the animated girl, her sidekick cat “Salty,” and Bill and Salie Utz as her parents, can tune into social media.