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Chipotle debuts text-to-win campaign as it eyes mobile strategy upgrade

Chipotle Mexican Grill has launched its latest text-to-win mobile marketing campaign, and is working on updating its mobile strategy.

The Denver-based, fast-casual chain is tying the new campaign into its partnership with Major League Soccer and its sponsorship of the 2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. It is characteristic of the high-profile digital efforts that Chipotle has become known for.

?We are in the process of doing some updating to our mobile programs, but are not yet sharing details of that,? said Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle.

He said the Homegrown SMS campaign is similar in its architecture to past text-to-win efforts by the chain. The goal of this campaign is primarily to enhance awareness of its partnership with MLS and give customers an opportunity to engage with Chipotle around that.

Challenges involved
The challenges involved in executing a campaign of this type are that coordination of asset delivery can be cumbersome when working either directly with a professional sports league or through an agency, said Gay Gabrilska, vice president of media at Hipcricket, a Bellevue, WA-based company that provides a platform to enhance mobile engagement.

?Other than that, there aren?t challenges as this is a very basic SMS campaign, and should be turnkey with the right vendor,? she said.

Ms. Gabrilska also noted that sports tie-ins have a limited a shelf life, unless the brand creates opportunities for ongoing conversations.

Opportunities for loyalty
Chipotle does not have a loyalty program, but campaigns such as this could help pave the way for that possibility in the future.

Chipotle has an opportunity to further leverage the mobile channel by developing a loyalty program tied to its customers? devices, said Jose L. Tamez, managing general partner at Mobile Search Partners, Golden, CO. He suggested the chain could take lessons from both Starbucks and some supermarket loyalty programs.

?The template is out there is those two forms,? Mr. Tamez said. ?Chipotle is very innovative in its digital campaigns,? he added. ?They are pretty unique among quick-service restaurants in how they have embraced digital.?

Previous success
Chipotle last summer enjoyed success with an SMS campaign called ?Adventurrito? that sought to drive traffic into its restaurants. It also achieved some notoriety for its ?Scarecrow? video campaign video campaign criticizing mass-produced foods.

Earlier this year, Chipotle rolled out an original video series on Hulu with a mobile sweepstakes that leveraged SMS to engage viewers. The chain used the SMS sweepstakes to promote the series, called ?Farmed and Dangerous.? Each episode featured a mobile call-to-action prompting consumers to text in unique keywords to Chipotle?s SMS database at 30364. (see story).

In the newest campaign with MLS, customers can enter to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the MLS All-Star Game by texting ?Homegrown? to 888222.

?The SMS channel has the greatest reach giving consumers the chance to interact with brands and gives the brands the opportunity to create a conversation with their consumers,? Ms. Gabrilska said.

 ?All the data that can be collected from these conversation workflows can be used to remarket to the consumer in a highly personal, relevant way."

Final Take
Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Marketer, New York