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Chipotle boosts SMS database to debut original video series

Chipotle is coordinating the launch of a new original video series with a mobile sweepstakes that leverages SMS to keep viewers tuned in.

The burrito chain is using the SMS sweepstakes to promote a new branded video series that is launching on Hulu called ?Farmed and Dangerous.? Each episode features a mobile call-to-action prompting consumers to text in unique keywords to Chipotle?s SMS database at 30364.

?It?s funny, actually sad, that calls-to-action on TV spots are rare,? said Jeff Hasen, Seattle-based chief marketing officer of Mobivity.

?Ford produced a 15.4 percent lead conversion years ago just by doing this,? he said. ?Yet others waste a huge opportunity, in Super Bowl ads and elsewhere, to make the dollars already being spent work harder and be more measurable.

"I don?t advocate spending big money on TV just for this purpose, but if you are already, and you don?t consider SMS for offers and to build a monetizable database, that?s a big mistake.?

Mr. Hasen is not affiliated with Chipotle. He spoke based on his expertise on the subject.

Chipotle did not respond to press inquiries.

Driving tune-ins
Farmed and Dangerous is a comedy series that takes a look at the agriculture industry's attempts to control consumers? perceptions about farming practices. 

The initiative fits into Chipotle?s bigger mission around educating consumers on how food is prepared to ultimately persuade them to make organic and healthy choices.

For example, the pilot episode of the series features big copy that reads, ?Text BADMILK to 30364 to play Episode 1 Trivia? before the show starts.

Users must then opt-in to receive up to 10 messages per game. Each game asks consumers to answer three trivia questions about the show. 

Consumers who answer all three questions correctly will be entered to win one of 5,000 weekly buy-one-get-one free rewards. 

Each entry also qualifies consumers to win one of the 100 grand prizes ? a catering party for 20. 

The idea behind leveraging SMS is to hammer in some of the brand?s messages throughout the series while also building up an SMS database through video.

Farmed and Dangerous is available on Hulu?s Web site, and Hulu Plus subscribers can watch the program from the company?s application. Hulu Plus is a paid subscription that costs $7.99 per month and lets consumers watch TV shows the day after they air as opposed to the free version of the service where consumers have to wait a week to watch a show.

The first episode in Chipotle?s series is now available, and additional episodes will launch on Feb. 24, March 3 and March 10. The SMS campaign runs through April 27.

Building up database
Chipotle also turned to SMS last summer with a mobile, social and Web campaign to celebrate the company?s 20th birthday.

Chipotle placed mobile calls-to-actions on the bottom of receipts with keywords that could be texted in daily for clues to questions that were answered through a mobile site with the ultimate prize of winning free burritos for 20 years (see story). 

Similar to Chipotle?s current campaign, the goal behind the Adventurrito campaign was to make SMS a bit more interactive and fun to ultimately build a longer-lasting relationship with consumers.

?Two thousand and fourteen is the year when the value of an opt-in is being assessed,? Mr. Hasen said.

?A large quick service restaurant franchisee we work with says that each opt-in is worth $10 a month,? he said. ?Plus this year, marketers are using previous purchase history to segment their blasts rather than sending out one to all.

"That will make text message marketing even more personal and a win-win, despite its perceived lack of sexiness by many. What?s cool is what works."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York