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Facebook Users Feast on Chipotle's Burrito Giveaway

  |  March 7, 2011   |  Comments

Mexican food chain doubled normal daily "likes" gain and saw strong coupon redemptions.

chipotle2Chipotle Mexican Grill wasn't necessarily looking to increase Facebook "likes" in its week-long campaign with partner NBC on the social site. The two companies offered a buy-one-burrito-get-one-free coupon to people who watched a trailer on Facebook for the new NBC show, "America's Next Great Restaurant," which stars Chipotle founder Steve Ells.

Mark Crumpacker, CMO for Chipotle, told ClickZ that his company gained 4,000 new "likes" a day - twice as many as the brand's average - even though the campaign didn't employ the commonly used like-gating tactic. The offer ran on NBC's Facebook page for "America's Next Great Restaurant," which accrued more than 300,000 "likes" from Feb. 24 to March 3. Ad copy encouraged people to "like" the show - or "Become A Fan" - without requiring the action. Chipotle posted about the burrito giveaway to its audience of 1.2 million Facebook "likes," though it did no other messaging for the effort.

"This promotion wasn't designed to add Chipotle [Facebook "likes"], but rather to get people to watch the show and to expose potential new customers to Chipotle," Crumpacker explained. "That's why it was promoted through some of NBC's digital channels... Reports from our restaurant managers are that we are seeing new customers in the restaurants. So it's not just our regulars who are getting in on the promotion."

While the CMO said his Denver-based restaurant chain reaped positive redemption numbers, he wouldn't disclose specifics. "It's beyond what we projected for the promotion," Crumpacker said.

Chipotle, which has never aired a TV spot, will continue an emphasis on Facebook when it kicks off a "Wrap What You Love" campaign on April 4. The initiative builds on a currently running "Wrapped In Gold" marketing theme that highlights Chipotle's self-described commitment to using quality food from local farmers.

The upcoming five-week effort will center on a photo contest, where consumers can enter by posting pictures of things they have wrapped to Chipotle's Facebook page. Participants will then encourage others to vote for their photo, and whomever accrues the most tallies will receive $10,000 and 24-carat Chipotle "burrito buck" gold coins. Additionally, the effort will raise money for a nonprofit called FamilyFarmed.org, which is devoted to educating farmers on how to directly sell their products to restaurant chains like Chipotle.

While "Wrap What You Love" will also involve banners on publisher networks, Crumpacker said Facebook ads would not be in the mix. "We've run Facebook ads before, and they don't perform as well as other types of ads for us," he said. "Maybe we just haven't figured out the right creative yet. But we don't have Facebook ads as part of this campaign."


Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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