- Chipotle Mexican Grill is releasing a set of limited-edition scratch-and-sniff stickers to celebrate 100 million views of its digital Giphy stickers, the company announced in a news release. The physical stickers are available for purchase at Chipotle.com.
- The stickers are real-life designs of some of Chipotle's most popular Giphy offerings on Snapchat and Instagram. They include "Would Rather Be at Chipotle" with a smoky adobo scent, "Less Talk More Guac" scented with roasted cumin and "Salsa Flame" with a flaming chili scent.
- Chipotle began using stickers on Giphy in June 2018 and worked with designer Pablo Rochat on the designs, which were inspired by social media conversations. The restaurant chain created a Sponsored Sticker Pack on Snapchat and plans to continue expanding its Giphy sticker offerings. Chipotle said it will create a function in its next app update to let users easily send Giphy stickers via SMS.
Mobile gifs and stickers are an increasingly popular messaging strategy for brands, and Chipotle is trying to spin its own successes with the format on apps like Instagram and Snapchat into a collectable novelty item. The news shows how Chipotle continues to put a premium on varying aspects of its mobile and digital business, which is seen as a linchpin in helping to revive sales at the fast-casual chain that has been battered by a series of food safety crises in recent years.
Snapchat and Instagram's core audience base is made up of mostly younger consumers like millennials and Gen Z. Those same age groups tend to enjoy using GIFs, emojis, stickers and other visuals to communicate compared to their older peers. By bringing its own digital stickers to life, Chipotle can potentially court these desirable but frequently fickle age segments and build out brand loyalty.
While most fast-food brands have struggled to attract millennials, who often prefer healthier meal options, the category is facing renewed competition for Gen Z's attention, which demands more innovative marketing. Gen Zers are 20% more likely to visit fast-food restaurants compared to other generations, and are 93% more likely to frequent Chipotle, according to a recent Foursquare and Carat study.
Beyond trying to address several, high-profile foodborne illness incidents at its restaurants, including one at a Ohio location in August, Chipotle is continuing to adjust to the demands of digital disruption. In March, it tapped Chris Brandt as CMO. Brandt previously served as chief brand and marketing officer for rival Taco Bell, which is frequently seen as a leader of innovation in the mobile QSR space.
Similarly, Chipotle last fall revamped its mobile app with expanded features like mobile pay, quick re-ordering options and coupons. It has also started testing designated drive-thru lanes for mobile orders at some locations. These efforts have been supported by Chipotle's partnership with DoorDash. In May, the chain claimed it had seen weekly delivery orders spike 667% after teaming with the on-demand food courier service.