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Chipotle brings mobile-exclusive offers to educational game and campaign

Chipotle Mexican Grill is bringing an educational twist to a new mobile-optimized game and sweepstakes that enables entrants to receive a buy one, get one free offer that is redeemable only on smartphones.

The dining chain’s latest marketing campaign highlights the differences between Chipotle’s ingredients and those commonly used by other fast food brands. Chipotle is continuing its mobile streak by rolling out a complementary mobile-optimized game and offering players a special coupon to redeem with their mobile devices in-store.

“Lots of people — a majority of our own customers — access information about us using their mobile device, so we wanted to be sure our game provides the best experience possible, regardless they choose to use in accessing it,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Denver.

Relevance to customers
The “Friend or Faux” campaign’s uniqueness stems from its educational aspect, which aims to offer relevant information to fans of Chipotle and other fast food chains. The Mexican dining brand is attempting to fuel more conversations about where food comes from, as well as preparation standards.

Chipotle claims it is focusing on using only quality ingredients in its menu items. The campaign is designed to showcase the limited number of ingredients used to prepare its food, which clocks in at a total of 68.

The growing popularity of paying for items via mobile devices and playing games while on-the-go prompted the brand to develop the “Friend or Faux” matching game, which can be accessed via smartphone or desktop.

Consumers may visit to play the game, which asks users to select a Chipotle menu product and another fast food menu item. Players must then compare and match 20 ingredients by pinpointing which item contains each ingredient.

Sample menu items include Chipotle’s tacos, burritos, bowls and salads, in addition to fast food staples such as burgers, pizzas and sandwiches.

Fans will also be able to view a study guide on the microsite dedicated to showing facts about the ingredients.

“Mobile is an increasingly important part of our marketing mix, as increasing numbers of customers are access information about our business and marketing programs using their mobile device,” Mr. Arnold said. “With a program like Friend or Faux, mobile seemed like a natural for execution.”

Mobile reward
Chipotle’s decision to offer game participants a special offer that is only redeemable on smartphones points to the growing amount of loyalty promotions designed to attract mobile users.

Individuals who complete the comparison experience will be rewarded with a buy one, get one free offer and a national sweepstakes entry.

Fifty grand prize sweepstakes winners will receive one year of free burritos for themselves and a friend, while 100 first prize winners will be gifted with a catering party for 20 people. Consumers who share the “Friend or Faux” microsite on their Twitter and Facebook accounts will be awarded with bonus entries.

This is not the first time Chipotle has rolled out a mobile-exclusive promotion.

In a reflection of how cross-marketing can add new life to SMS promotions, Chipotle offered fitness enthusiasts the chance to win round-trip airfare and first-class accommodations for the Tough Mudder challenge in Australia, as well as a year’s worth of free burritos, via a text-to-win campaign held this past April (see story).

Chipotle also introduced mobile-enabled delivery services for users of the Postmates application, following on the heels of Starbucks’ similar move, even as the latter also tests a branded solution, raising the question of whether consumers will prefer third-party or restaurants’ own mobile delivery offerings (see story).

“The game is a clever way to engage people and to let them know what is in food,” Mr. Arnold said. “We think it will be eye-opening for some to see what is in food they eat, and the game is designed to be a fun way to relay that information.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York