Chipotle: Burrito a Friend

Campaign Summary

Chipotle had a robust subscriber base in its loyalty program, but participation rates were low. In order to reenergize its most loyal customers, the brand invited them to “Burrito a Friend” by offering a free burrito to friends via SMS messaging. The campaign brought lapsed users back into the fold, and successfully increased the brand’s loyalty program subscribers. 


Objective and Context:

Chipotle wanted to increase the growth of its loyalty program while also re-engaging subscribers who had not interacted with the brand in a while. In 2016, 39 percent of subscribers did not participate in any of the brand’s three major programs. The brand’s solution was to include the friends of its loyalty program through a refer-a-friend program.

Target Audience:

Chipotle analyzed the behavior of its existing database, and selected its target audience based on engagement in past national promotions, and frequency of engagement.

Creative Strategy:

Chipotle didn’t want this campaign to “go viral” as it was based on the one-to-one connection of friends, so the brand sent out an SMS broadcast to the target audience in a way that ensured the recipients couldn’t share with multiple people.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Chipotle developed a custom SMS program that allowed loyalty program members to share offers and discounts with friends on a one-to-one basis, with approximately 90 percent of the budget going to mobile.

Mobile Execution:

Utilizing messaging, web pages and graphic design, the campaign drove growth in the subscriber base by allowing existing program members to “Burrito a Friend.”

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Of those that received the broadcast, 55 percent engaged with the experience, with 36 percent of the total group finishing the experience and sending a card to a friend. Sixty-two percent of recipients completed the experience, and overall subscriber growth in 2016 was 2.4 times higher than 2015. Burrito a Friend added 2,000 subscribers to the database.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Mobile Social | Awards: Bronze Winner