Chipotle Set to Go With DeVito/Verdi as Agency

Burrito Chain Has History of Tapping Indie Shops

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill, nearing the end of a several months-long agency search, is poised to tap independent DeVito/Verdi, New York, to handle its $15 million to $20 million account.

Denver-based Chipotle, once affiliated with McDonald's Corp., has been without an advertising agency since it split with TDA Advertising & Design of Boulder, Colo., last spring after less than a year.

"As Chipotle has grown we wanted to select an agency that could grow with us," said Jim Adams, director-marketing for the restaurant chain. Said Mr. Adams of DeVito/Verdi: "We liked their past work, we like the people and we expect great things from them."

A spokesman for DeVito/Verdi -- which has done work for Sony, Canon and BMW, and in 2007 added business from Sports Authority, SteinMart and Levitz Furniture -- referred calls to the client.

Undisclosed number of shops in review
There was no consultant for the review, for which Chipotle reached out to undisclosed agencies over the course of several months. Austin, Texas-based independent McGarrah/Jessee was among the finalists pitching for the business, executives familiar with the matter said.

DeVito/Verdi will primarily handle creative duties, and likely media-buying as well, Mr. Adams said.

The restaurant chain has a history of selecting independent agencies to handle its advertising; prior to working with TDA, Chipotle in 2004 selected independent agency Mother, New York, as its first agency of record.

Chipotle, which launched in 1993, serves its menu of freshly made burritos, tacos and salads at nearly 700 locations.

The chain is known to ride consumer diet trends; it rolled out its tortilla-less "burrito bowl" in 2003 when low-carb diets were all the rage, and in 2007 it became the first national restaurant chain to go rBGH-free (recombinant bovine growth hormone), and now serves sour cream and cheese without the synthetic hormone.
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