Is Chipotle dishing out some sick stuff? This time, the burrito chain sincerely hopes so.
Chipotle's image has taken a beating all year, what with E. coli and norovirus outbreaks and the indictment of its chief creative officer on drug charges. Just yesterday, the company reported a nearly 15 percent third-quarter revenue decline, continuing a downward spiral.
Now, seeking to boost its brand, win new fans and jumpstart sales, Chipotle is targeting the college and high-school crowd on Snapchat (user name: ChipotleSnaps) with a minute-long weekly comedy show called "School of Guac."
Developed by Vice-owned Carrot Creative, episodes drop on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. The format sends up late-night talk shows, with dashes of SNL and Mad TV tossed in. Young actress Lorena Russi serves as host. A tin-foil-wrapped burrito serves as a desktop microphone. There's goofy animation and random humor, with the first installment touching on the 13th Zodiac sign and tricycles:
"We have always appealed to younger audiences—Gen Y in particular," Jackson Jeyanayagam, Chipotle's director of digital marketing, tells AdFreak. "Now that Gen Z is beginning to make decisions on their favorite restaurant brands, it's important that we speak to them in the most relevant way possible. Right now, Snapchat is at the top of the list."
Next, we learn why tortillas are round but tortilla chips are triangular. And a Burrito Whisperer waxes poetic:
"It's important to us to stay true to who we are as a brand," Jeyanayagam says, "which means being disruptive and innovating."
Russi's relaxed, relatable presence is a highlight, and the work seems in line with Chipotle's recent turn toward more whimsical marketing. That trend includes GSD&M's "Ingredients Reign" campaign, which casts animated avocados, tomatoes and jalapeños in starring roles. (Though not on rolls, just to be clear.)
So, how will Chipotle gauge the Snapchat show's success?
"Ultimately, we want fans to be engaging with our entire story and getting excited for the following week's episode," Jeyanayagam says. "Don't get me wrong, traffic to BurritoWowNow.com [plugged in the episodes] would be awesome, but I'd be happy with friends telling more friends that they need to follow ChipotleSnaps on Snapchat. That's the real metric for success here."
Agency: Carrot Creative
Creative Director: Bharat Kumar
Strategist: Helene Dick
Account Director: Jas Jabbour
Senior Designer/Art Director: Corey Upton
Senior Copywriter: Gio Serrano
Scriptwriter: Alix McAlpine
Associate Copywriter: Monica Sagowitz
Associate Art Director: Helen Torney
Designers: Adam Rozanski/Krissan Pattugalan
Associate Designers: Meggy Kawsek/Jay Fleckenstein
Senior Producer: Austen Williams
Studio: Juliette Richey (Director of Content)/David Yeomans (Studio Producer)/Dan Stenzel (Production Coordinator)/Liz Stallmeyer (Post Production Coordinator)
Senior Editor: Tobias Arturi
Account Supervisor: Emma Kieckhafer