Chipotle rose to the top of the fast food chain but everyone knows. What goes up, must come down. The higher the rise, the harder they fall. Enough of these turns of phrases.
Chipotle did not have a good year. They had a food safety scare. Hundreds of people got sick from eating Chipotle products contaminated with E.coli. It was almost shocking since the company advertises itself as high quality and only using fresh ingredients. The irony was deafening.
Chipotle had to do something to avoid losing its customers. They decided to reboot their marketing approach. They released a loyalty program to reward repeat customers. Trying to re-spark the habitual visits that its customers used to do.
Chipotle has also released a new commercial to try to help its consumers remember what they loved about Chipotle in the first place. “A Love Story,” is about two young kids, Evie and Ivan who have rival juice stands. In order to compete with each other, they change and offer things that do not align with their original intentions. Eventually, they realize that they are handling it the wrong way. They return to using high quality ingredients (like Chipotle).
The commercial was a light hearted story taking a jab at other fast food. It was a subtle jab that was easily digest-able since it was animated and “cute.” It was also set to a cover of the Backstreet Boy’s hit “I want it that way.” Drawing the attention of the 90s and Millennials who used to love frequenting Chipotle.
“We think ‘Love Story’s’ message will galvanize our loyalists and remind people of the Chipotle they love,” stated Chipotle’s brand marketing director, Mark Shambura.
Many believe that this approach is not going to fix Chipotle’s image. It isn’t about rebranding, it is about re-establishing trust. Chipotle betrayed the trust of its consumers and it needs to find a way to earn it back.
By not focusing more on the fundamental issues, like what has been done to overcome this crisis for a brand built on raw, fresh ingredients, Chipotle takes a risk that if these food-safety issues should come up again, they have exhausted their credibility with their customers. (William G. Daddi, president of Daddi Brand Communications)
Stock prices continue to drop and even a single tweet about an alleged food poisoning from Chipotle can sink them. They are having such a tough time that even a lyric by Kanye West is good press for them.