By Jason Gieselman
Chipotle’s sales have been down in 2016 due to food born illness outbreaks last year which lead to the CDC running its own investigation. In January, Chipotle closed all of its locations and had a company-wide meeting. Chipotle offered 1 free burrito to any and everyone for the inconvenience of closing all locations for their meeting. They saw a better return from this promotion than expected.
Because of the success of this marketing ploy Chipotle decided to try another giveaway idea. They built a website where people could go and play “Guac Hunter” for free chips and guac. It was essentially a glorified Photo Hunt game but with an actual prize. This again worked out better than Chipotle had imagined and it seems that they are now on the up-and-up with plans to possibly venture into the realm of healthy burger chains.
I felt these were unique examples of a company using paid media for the purpose of damage control instead of traditional media. They didn’t shy away from their shortcomings and instead made a genuine effort to earn their customers’ trust back.