‘Food With Integrity’ campaign makes consumers think about the meat in their mouths

There are more and more companies that are understanding how to promote campaigns well online. One company that I think really gets how to utilize different online marketing techniques is a self-proclaimed “fast casual” food service specializing in big burritos — Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Let’s do a little case study to determine the indulging ingredients being offered by Chipotle.

Chipotle’s focus “has always been on using higher-quality ingredients and cooking techniques to make great food accessible to all people at reasonable prices.” But the company admits that fresh is no longer enough and the company prides itself on knowing the sources for all of its ingredients to provide flavorful food and to be mindful of the environment — thus the evolution of the idea of “Food With Integrity” campaign.

dsc03566What I like about Chipotle’s online marketing is that the “Food With Integrity” message is the same across all online platforms, even though it is presented to consumers in slightly different ways.

Corporate website — The company’s website has a “Food With Integrity” section with different tabs for consumers to learn about animals, people and the environment. Each of these sections has feature stories about where Chipotle ingredients come from and the people who deliver those ingredients. The website also has videos: highlighting farmers, talking about the CEO’s desire to get back to the food basics, how the campaign ties into the business, etc.

Chipotle also has produced other videos that don’t even run as TV ads. Remember a couple years back when it all started with “The Scarecrow” video? Here’s a reminder:

The computer-animated video tells the story of a farmer being controlled by the industry and how he gets back to the basics. To date, the video has more than 13 million views on YouTube. An article in The New Yorker claims that “The Scarecrow” has been praised as an innovative piece of marketing and beautiful work of art, and applauded for its anti-factory-farming message. On the flip side, some agricultural producers have responded angrily, accusing Chipotle of peddling misleading representations of conventional agricultural methods: all farmers, they argue, care about their animals, and no one keeps a cow in a metal box or injects a chicken with green slime.

Whether you like the video or not, Chipotle is successful in other online marketing techniques.

BlogChipotle maintains a blog with frequent entries and the company does use storytelling to convey its message; however, this is done primarily through photos rather than heavy content. Even though the idea of “Food With Integrity” isn’t obviously stated in recent blog posts, the message is still there — explaining to customers where their food comes from. Here is a screen shot from Sept. 9 that explains the use of corn in the restaurant as well as a little background information on where they receive it:

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 2.31.40 PM   Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 2.31.50 PM

Mobile — Chipotle gives the customers an opportunity to place online orders, pay online and then pick-up in the store later. Customers who are truly on the go can download the restaurant’s app to place orders, access nutritional/allergy information or see pictures of menu items. I think Chipotle understands how mobile marketing plays a factor in its digital marketing mix.

Although Chipotle uses various digital mediums, the company maintains consistency by always reiterating the message of quality ingredients. As Chipotle founder Steve Ells shares in one of the company videos: “I think it’s really important that people know where their food comes from.” Chipotle continues to educate customers about the meat they are putting into their mouths when they choose Chipotle, whether it’s through video, feature stories or photos.

What other companies do you think are successful of maintaining a consistent message across digital platforms?

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8 thoughts on “‘Food With Integrity’ campaign makes consumers think about the meat in their mouths

  1. People might think it is a great efford but that is pure BF! pure Marketing if you would. No antibiotics doesn’t mean much. The important part which is welfare of the bird. Also, free of animal by product is wrong. Chickens are not vegetarians, so that statement only serves to indicate that cheeks are not eating their natural diets. People need to look for “Pasture-raised” chickens.

    “No hormones” is also BS because in the US it is illegal to use hormones so it is all a marketing ploy.

    Marketing marketing! All that doesn’t mean anything and people feel about it. Sad.

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    • I mentioned this in another reply: Whether you agree with the “Food With Integrity” campaign or not (more specifically the message they are sending consumers) I do think from a marketing standpoint they are doing a great job of integrating different platforms: storytelling video, mobile, social networking sites and blogs. Chipotle’s message is consistent across different mediums and that, I think, makes the campaign a success. Besides…Chipotle isn’t the first company or brand to alter the stats/facts/information in a marketing campaign. I’ve taken a marketing research and analysis course where we discussed how re-wording information or data can give an entirely different message to consumers. Unfortunately, that’s one of the downsides of marketing.

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  2. Chipotle must have someone from the WVU IMC working for them because they seem to have mastered integrated marketing! I think this is a well thought out campaign and, as long as Chipotle is sincere about it, it is a great example that other brands should follow.

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    • Whether you agree with the “Food With Integrity” campaign or not, I think it’d be tough to say that in regards to marketing Chipotle isn’t doing it right. As you said, they seemed to have mastered integrated marketing. Although, lately it seems they are moving away from traditional TV ad spots and more toward digital videos on social channels.

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  3. Tiffany,

    The Chipotle “Scarecrow” commercial was an excellent video to highlight. The brand is trying to provoke an emotional response, both from the people who agree and disagree with them. Viral videos, like this one, are different from TV advertising, and it’s bending the rules for traditional advertising.

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    • You’re right. And Chipotle doesn’t do much traditional advertising. I can’t ever recall seeing a TV ad or print ad in a magazine. They want to get people talking (good or bad) through “newer” types of advertising — like advergames or digital videos that are only featured on social media channels.

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