Chipotle Keeps It ‘Real’ With New Campaign and Social Effort Highlighting All 51 Ingredients

The chain is pivoting to a lifestyle brand

AOR Venables Bell & Partners handled the creative. Chipotle
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Chipotle wants the public to know it has moved on—and that thyme makes everything just a little more delicious.

The chain, which has spent the past three-plus years proving to investors it could overcome a food poisoning controversy, is moving away from fast food to position itself as a lifestyle brand with a new campaign called “For Real” that’s focused on its key differentiator: quality ingredients.

The multimedia campaign marks a sharp departure from the first effort from agency of record Venables Bell & Partners that launched in early 2017 and starred three comedians acting “as real as it gets” inside a very surreal burrito.

The TV spots at the heart of the new effort repeatedly offer lots of food-prep shots emphasizing the handmade nature of Chipotle’s offerings. As the copy tells us, it’s sort of their thing.

A second spot looks to further distinguish Chipotle from competitors by reminding viewers that none of its products are prepared ahead of time and that plenty of real cooking takes place in its kitchens.

Even its special chorizo has nothing to hide.

The pivot comes several months after Chipotle hired Taco Bell veterans Brian Niccol and Chris Brandt to replace its CEO and CMO, respectively.

The campaign also includes an unusual social media component: a second Instagram account that consists only of posts for each of the 51 ingredients used in Chipotle’s meals.

These @ChipotleForReal posts, which went live Sunday around the same time the full campaign launched, offer a mini history lesson for each ingredient and a list of the products it’s in.

Chipotle’s new ‘For Real’ tagline and mission brings us back to our roots and reflects the principles we were founded on 25 years ago,” Brandt said in a statement. “Chipotle has always emphasized food prepared fresh daily in all of our restaurants, and we wanted this campaign to highlight that, reflecting our real principles and ‘real’ as a way of acting in the world.”

The new positioning appears to be working. Chipotle beat sales expectations in the first and second quarters based in part on stronger delivery results. Its stock price has risen accordingly since first-quarter results were announced in April.

In addition to the broadcast and social media work, “For Real” also includes print placements in major publications and out-of-home work.

Oh, and by the way, it’s pronounced chih-poat-lay.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.