Chipotle goes quirky for training video

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Chipotle, putting a fresh spin on internal communications, recruited a hot ad agency to shoot an offbeat training video aimed at the fast-food chain's employees.

The nine-minute film and a 60-second trailer promoting it were shot by director Anders Hallberg of Believe Media for the New York office of Mother. The industrial film-cum-mockudrama is about a girl's forbidden love for a burrito and how she persuades a strict father to accept the tortilla-wrapped object of her affection. The plot weaves in information on how the chain, now owned by McDonald's Corp., was founded, what types of people it hires and how it uses design, architecture and music to set its restaurants a cut above most fast-food chains.

"It pretty much gets the whole story, and it's done in a really fun way," said Dan Fogarty, who holds the improbable title of keeper of the faith at Chipotle, which pegs same-store sales growth at 25%."It has to feel like Chipotle."

It's no ordinary employer. At Denver headquarters for the 300-unit, 9,000-employee chain, the marketer offers free meals and yoga classes and allows staffers' dogs to roam the floors. Its IT department is labeled "missing persons" and the executive suite is known as the "proctology department." Messages such as "Self-destruct now engaged" or "Retinal scan in progress" appear on access pads outside doors.

Mr. Fogarty said the chain does as much internal communication as it does to customers. If employees "get it," he said, they'll make the customer experience better.

Chipotle "wants to prove you can have a fast-food company with great product and great food," said Paul Malmstrom, partner-creative director of Mother, which also handles consumer marketing for the chain. Chipotle spent $1.1 million in measured media last year. "If you can get people to buy into that vision, it's easy to say yes to that and to love and to feel that you're actually part of this."

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