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Chipotle leverages SMS to offer exclusive hints in time-sensitive promo

Chipotle is using mobile, social and Web to build up its SMS database while also doling out clues for a campaign that celebrates its 20th birthday.

The Adventurrito campaign is a 20-day-long initiative that challenges consumers to complete 20 different online puzzles for the chance to win one free burrito per week for 20 years. SMS is playing a key role in how Chipotle is getting the word out about the campaign inside restaurant locations.

?I've definitely been critical of Chipotle's previous lackluster attempts at integrating SMS marketing into their marketing mix," said Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango, Seattle. "I think with this SMS campaign they really nailed it.

?Not only was this SMS campaign set up correctly in regards to the call-to-action, it was intriguing enough for me to want to text-in and play the game,? he said.

Mr. Johnson is not affiliated with Chipotle. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Chipotle did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile clues
Chipotle is placing SMS calls-to-action along the bottom of receipts that encourage consumers to text in a keyword to Chipotle?s short code to receive hints on daily puzzles.

Additionally, the receipt tells users that they will be opting into Chipotle?s SMS program by texting in the keyword to the short code.

The campaign?s keywords change daily and are linked to that day?s puzzle. For example, on July 14 the campaign?s keyword was SOATBA, which users were instructed to text to 30364.

When consumers text in a keyword, they are sent a code that can be used to help solve a puzzle as well as a link to the campaign. Consumers can then type the code into the mobile site to answer a puzzle.

Chipotle?s campaign is live at the microsite and also includes social media components on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Consumers can register an account on the Adventurrito site to play virtual puzzles. Puzzles are unlocked every 24 hours on the site through August 3.

If consumers correctly answer a question, they are given a virtual medallion. Consumers must collect 19 medallions to unlock the 20th puzzle. The top twenty grand prize winners will then be chosen by their score and completion time.

Consumers can also opt-in to receive daily SMS messages when a new puzzle is available.

In addition to the SMS clues, Chipotle is also leveraging its Google+, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts to dole out hints to consumers.

Chipotle's mobile games

Order on mobile
Chipotle also has a mobile ordering app that was rolled out in 2009 (see story).

In this case, what is interesting about Chipotle?s campaign is that it ties together multiple digital mediums to get consumers to participate.

SMS is particularly a good fit for a fast food chain to leverage in-store when consumers have a couple of minutes of free time.

?There's no better time for a consumer to take out their mobile phone then when eating at a fast food restaurant, which makes it extremely easy to encourage the consumer to interact with an SMS campaign while they're sitting there eating,? Mr. Johnson said.

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