Mar, 14, 2014

HMS and Utz Snacks take over Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to celebrate National Potato Chip Day


National Potato Chip Day is observed every March 14, commemorating the popular snack that we simply can’t live without. Utz Snacks, a premier snack food company, wanted to capitalize and own the day which didn’t currently have any activation around it from other brands.

Desired Layout

Utz Snacks enlisted HMS to design, build and execute a one-day activation to increase brand awareness through sample distribution and social media engagement in one of its three key markets: Baltimore, Maryland.

Build Approach

To help Utz Snacks reach its goals, HMS dreamt and designed a high-energy, high-impact stunt that would capture the attention of everyone in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The Inner Harbor is Maryland’s number one tourist attraction, attracting more than 14 million people a year.

The HMS team delivered an 8-foot-by-8-foot branded Utz crate to the harbor the day prior to the special event with a countdown clock to 5:15 p.m. the next day. The city was canvassed with sidewalk decals, flyers and a Gobo-illuminated projector promoting the event time and location.

On National Potato Chip Day, four Utz delivery trucks parked in the Inner Harbor, a 15-foot inflatable Utz potato chip bag was displayed and the brand’s mascot Salie began mingling with the crowd. At exactly 5:15 p.m., the countdown clock struck zero and the crate popped open to reveal a DJ who started playing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams as a flash mob broke out into dance. The professionally-choreographed dance incorporated Utz potato chips and included young, upbeat dancers.

After the performance concluded, Utz All-American Chip Day t-shirts were distributed along with potato chip samples. The DJ continued to play popular music as the block party continued. The event was supported by a live radio remote, a robust social media campaign, a month-long sweepstakes and local media buys.

HMS provided a turn-key event from start to finish that would help Utz Snacks reach its goal and make an impact in a key market. The team created the blueprint for the event, built the pieces, designed the footprint, hired brand ambassadors and dancers, secured permitting and executed the event.


The event attracted a crowd of approximately 2,500 potato chip lovers which resulted in an approximately 50,000 brand impressions. More than 4,500 samples of Utz potato chips were distributed during the two-hour event.