Chipotle Mexican Grill has updated everything from its food lineup to its executive ranks in recent years and the overhaul is taking shape. The chain’s comeback story took center stage at the Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of Marketing conference in a session called “The Reawakening of Chipotle.”
The “For Real” campaign that launched in Sept. 2018 was a way for the brand to reignite its voice, with a focus on the food, years after food safety issues had kept diners away.
“We really wanted to celebrate the food and we weren’t apologizing anymore,” said Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt.
Sales are up, as are visits to its restaurants. Not to mention the stock price, which has hit new highs, well above $800 per share. (That’s a lot of burritos and bowls.)
“I don’t think we would have expected it to take off as quickly as it did, and that just shows the love that people have for Chipotle, and the brand affinity that people have,” said Brandt.
While agency Venables Bell & Partners is leading the creative push, Chipotle is building up its internal creative muscle. Shelley Sheppard, Chipotle’s director, brand creative, is building a team to work with agencies on content, marketing and storytelling.