Chipotle Is Using This Unconventional Marketing Strategy To Take The Nation By Storm


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In fast food, big brands like McDonald’s and Burger King spend tons of money on national campaigns, constantly bombarding consumers with their messages. Chipotle, in contrast, works with a much smaller budget, barely advertises on TV and does its work in-house.

And yet, Chipotle is scorching hot right now. Revenue rose 23.7 per cent and same-store sales leapt 11.1 per cent in Q4 compared to the year prior, and it’s opening stores by the dozens.

How’s that possible? It’s all about its marketing strategy.

Maureen Morrison at AdAge has written up a great breakdown of the things CMO Mark Crumpacker and his crew at Chipotle have done to be so successful using non-traditional means.

Here are a few key points from her report:

  • Chipotle has found a “sweet spot” with millennials by solidifying its reputation for freshness, and offering a healthier fare than its competitors.
  • The brand also gains reputation by shying away from traditional media, because younger audiences feel like it’s more authentic, down-to-earth and easy to connect with.
  • Even Chipotle’s first national TV ad wasn’t traditional by any means. It featured Willie Nelson telling a two-minute animated story of a farmer whose business grows massive, before his conscience convinces him to revert to more humane, sustainable operations.
  • It’s working at a more grassroots level to build support too, like with its Cultivate food and music festival and its Farm Team loyalty program — both are focused on humane food sourcing and organic farming. 

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