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Hack Stunt Jeopardizes Brand’s Authenticity

Keep it real, Chipotle

Over the last few years, Chipotle has dominated the fast food market with their minimalist yet extremely addictive Mexican cuisine.  Whether you like your burrito wrapped like a small baby in tin foil or shaken in a bowl, Chipotle has established itself as a competitive force not just at the food court, but on social media as well.  Currently hailing 230,000+ Twitter followers, @ChipotleTweets has amassed a devout fan base of burrito-lovers wanting to connect with the brand on a more personal level.  However, the brand might have diminished their reputation over the weekend by posting “hacked” tweets that were missing more credibility than a burrito without guac.  

In honor of their 20th anniversary, Chipotle has launched “Adventurrito” – an online treasure hunt that gives fans the opportunity to win daily prizes and one grand prize of free burritos for 20 years.  A brilliant campaign that encourages fan participation across all social media platforms, as well as long retention levels, Chipotle attempted to gain publicity this past weekend by posting seemingly hacked tweets on their Twitter, @Chipotletweets.  The tweets, consisting of just “twitter Find avocado store in Arv,” and simply “twitter,” confused fans and gained publicity across various outlets.  However, it was revealed that the “hack” was merely just a stunt to gain publicity for Adventurrito.  Although stealthy and rogue like that guy who asks for a free water cup and fills it up with Coke, the “hack” raises the question about trust and what brands will sacrifice to gain publicity.  Whether fans and consumers question their reliability, the biggest question for Chipotle still remains: burrito or bowl?  

~ Michael Emer, Intern, The S3 Agency


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