Chipotle launches image campaign to spotlight transparency, food prep

Digital, TV spots to feature employees, farming partners

Chipotle Mexican Grill has launched one of its largest media and image campaigns aimed at increasing transparency and regaining the trust of its customers. Chipotle’s “Behind the Foil” is a campaign that was created by Venables Bell and Partners. Spotlighting its own employees and farming partners, the documentary-style digital and TV segments put the spotlight on Chipotle, with the help of documentarian Errol Morris. The launch arrived with a live broadcast from the Chipotle Woodbury Town Center location’s morning prep line and posted on Facebook Live.

“The campaign celebrates the heart of Chipotle, our dedicated employees and our supply partners who grow the real ingredients that make up the delicious food that our fans love,” said Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketer in the Chipotle announcement. “Behind the Foil” gives customers a peak into its kitchens, equipment and prep routines. In the recent past, Chipotle has been working hard to re-establish trust with its customers following a few years of broadscale safety food incidents at several restaurants.

A video of Chipotle Facebook Live to launch “Behind the Foil” campaign. Video by Chipotle.

Image campaign follows performance resurgence

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol was installed last February 13—nearly one year ago—to lead the company’s’ next stage of growth, and together with a strong digital campaign, his efforts appear to be paying off. Niccol had an inside perspective on the business of tacos and burritos, having served as Taco Bell’s chief executive just before arriving at Chipotle.

“Behind the Foil” documentary-style. Video by Chipotle.

And there’s a sign of a more-than-likely resurgence: The Newport Beach, Calif. chain recently reported that fourth quarter 2018 revenue increased 10.4 percent to $1.2B and operating margins were at 17 percent of sales, a 2.1 percentage-point increase from last year’s same quarter. Comparable Q4 sales were up 6.1 percent from last year. Traffic was up: Chipotle reported comparable transactions increased 2.0 percent.

For the full-year 2018, revenue at Chipotle increased 8.7 percent to $4.7B, while operating margin was 18.7 percent of sales, up from 16.9 percent in 2017. Full-year comparable sales were up 4.0 percent from last year as a result of sales mix and average check increases.

In new era, Chipotle focuses on safety, authenticity of ingredients

Chipotle’s Robbie stars in this”No Microwaves” clip. V/ideo by Chipotle.

Nevertheless, more than five years ago when it was a star, Chipotle was producing videos that spotlighted the fast-casual chain’s use of human meats, like “Back to the Start” (with the help of Willie Nelson). Today, the chain faces pressure to restore its image as a supplier of safe food, prepared with sustainable ingredients and humanely-raised meats.

“What really sets Chipotle apart is the high standards we’re held to when preparing and serving our food,” said Bre Peterson, a Massillon, Ohio Chipotle employee, who also appears in the new campaign. “I’m truly proud of the food we make every day and I’ve learned so much about cooking and food preparation during my time with Chipotle.”

Photo and video credit: Chipotle

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