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Utz Brands doubles down on digital ads to grow snack sales, retain customers

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Utz Brands CEO Dylan Lissette told CNBC Friday that the company is increasing its marketing spend on digital advertising to reach new customers and grow snack sales.

“We’re putting a lot of money there. As we go forward into 2021 [it will be] about a 60% increase,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview with Jim Cramer. “But as we look beyond that, we’re going to be putting even more in.”

The company, which sells a range of salty snacks including potato chips and pretzels, is looking to capitalize on pandemic-era lockdowns that have left consumers eating at home. The company’s portfolio includes brands like Zapp’s, Golden Flake and Boulder Canyon.

“What we love about [digital ads] is the fact that you really are able to turn on a dime … and pursue what works,” he said. “If some sort of an angle of attack on reaching our customers for one brand or another brand works, they’re able to very quickly lean in behind it.”

For its 2020 fiscal year, ended Jan. 3, Utz spent about $11.1 million on consumer marketing and advertising, according to its annual report. Lissette did not say how much would be committed to marketing and ad expenses in the current fiscal year.

Lissette said there’s more opportunity in social media and digital ads “as opposed to sort of doing one commercial and running it for a year and realizing it didn’t really give you what you needed.”

Utz shares rose 5% to $26.56 in Friday’s session. The 100-year-old brand went public last year via a special purpose acquisition corporation deal.


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