Packaged FINDINGS: Utz “spirits in” the party season

Posted on Oct 31, 2019 by

Well, the “holiday” season is upon us as we start with the celebration of Halloween, functioning as the gateway to the party season. Along with it begins the waves of exciting new packaging in celebration of these events. It is anticipated that American consumers will spend close to $8.8 billion on Halloween, with 95% spent on candy alone*, which demonstrates how lucrative seasonal markets can be for seasonal packaging. Halloween is unique in that it not only includes packaging for candy or food but it also includes themed packaging for costumes and décor. Gone are the days of dime-store costumes for little kids to trick or treat in – Halloween is a major seasonal event for young and old.

To me, the best part of Halloween is watching the little kids – who take so much joy in simply putting on a costume, going door to door, and collecting more candy and treats than you know they can reasonably consume. Their raw excitement and belief in the mystery of the evening are enough to make the “grunchiest grumpie” happy. As I was shopping for treats, I found the Utz Halloween Bats & Jacks Pretzel Treats box, and I knew I had to say something. I thought this was one of the happiest and most effective graphic designs I have seen in a long time – done very simply but with a huge impact.

The package is nothing more than a simple stock carton printed with highly atmospheric images conveying the spooky, cold and damp feel you might experience on your “haunt” for treats especially on a blustery cold night – but then happy glowing pumpkins devilishly smile at you, almost reassuring that your treat will be fun. The package contains 40 individual packages of pretzel “bats” and “jacks” (Jack o’ Lanterns), which are clearly displayed on all panels of the package, as opposed to having a generic interior package with one design for both product forms. Additionally, the net content, fresh by date, and nut warning copy all reverses out of the darkest tones of the background design, providing maximum legibility and impact. It is carried over to the back panel of the package, which repeats selected elements from the face panel to allow for nutrition facts and ingredient copy.

This carton did not require advanced engineering but it did utilize high-quality images and printing in delivering a message. While I can appreciate the technical skills used to print this package, what was most important to me as the consumer was the absolute impact with which the package graphic design connected with me – and has remained in my conscious well after purchasing the carton and putting it away. The design filled me with images I have that accompany the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story, and fond memories I have of simpler days when Halloween was for kids – no ghouls, no zombies, no slasher movies. Halloween was an occasion to have fun where the principle decoration was a carved pumpkin on the porch.

Thank you, Utz, for a thoroughly enjoyable package design in the spirit of the holiday. And to everyone else, I hope you like the Bats & Jacks you get in your trick-or-treat bucket.

*Source: Candy Industry Magazine: National Retail Federation

If you’re thinking about doing a powerful holiday or seasonal package that truly connects with the consumer but need help with the structure and design that will ensure your product’s success, we invite you to start a conversation with us! 920-886-7727 or

The purpose of our “findings” blog is to spotlight packaging that displays thinking that breaks the mold and delivers something new or chancy – or at the very least, highlights packaging that catches your eye in the retail environment.