Part of the success of brands like Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Arby’s is that customers don’t just eat the restaurants’ food, they live it. From promotional T-shirts to snarky Twitter feeds, these brands do more than just sell food — they sell a lifestyle.
Chipotle became tight-lipped and closed off from consumers in the wake of its food safety issues. Niccol said that Chipotle has “lost some of its cultural relevance” and would need to changes its image.
“Chipotle will become a brand that people want to know about, want to be a part of and want to wear as a badge,” Christopher Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer, said on the call.
To accomplish that mission, Chipotle is shaking up its marketing and customer interaction. The company has produced a number of new advertisements that feature a fun and witty tone like Wendy’s and Arby’s.
The burrito chain has been reluctant in the past to create television ads, preferring more grass-roots efforts and quirky film shorts to entice customers. The company didn’t advertise on TV until last year.
“Our goal is to make our marketing dollars more efficient and effective and most importantly help drive traffic,” Brandt said.
Chipotle has been working to heighten brand recognition by buying ad time during the season finales of hit TV shows, partnering with the National Basketball Association and sponsoring video game players that play the hit game Fortnite.