Scaling Via Social:

Marketers' Perspective On Modern-Day Storytelling

Chris Brandt CMO, Chipotle

Your brain is hard-wired to remember stories. That’s how history was passed down for generations and the brain evolved to better retain stories vs. facts. People also don’t hate advertising, they hate advertising that isn’t relevant to them. Today, modern storytelling means telling the right type of stories in the right environment if you want your brand to break through and be relevant in a crowded media environment.

At Chipotle, about 18 months ago we saw that younger consumers were spending large amounts of time on TikTok. We had brainstormed ideas to promote Chipotle on the platform for months, but nothing felt like it fit. So, we continued to wait until we had the right idea. Then, one of our employees sent us a video of him cleverly flipping a lid (which we use for takeaway and delivery orders) onto a burrito bowl. We loved it, shared it on Instagram, and it started to go viral.

We knew we had our moment – the lid flip was engaging, authentic, and ideal for the short-form video format that defines TikTok. We partnered with Chipotle super-fan and social influencer David Dobrik to kick off the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge, making Chipotle the first restaurant brand to partner with TikTok for a #challenge in the United States. The effort quickly racked up hundreds of millions of views, helped drive buzz and excitement for free delivery, and served as the start to the brand’s ongoing relationship with the platform. To-date, we’ve launched four campaigns on TikTok: #ChipotleLidFlip, #GuacDance; #Boorito and #TikTokTimeout - racking up billions of views and making it an ongoing part of our overall marketing strategy. The key to our success is that we only tell stories on the platform that feel endemic, celebrate Chipotle, and show that we understand what TikTok is all about.