- Chipotle is launching a racing video game to celebrate a new update to its loyalty program, per a company press release. The update is called Rewards Exchange and gives members of Chipotle Rewards more options on which to spend their loyalty points.
- The game, Chipotle Race to Reward Exchange, features a farm-inspired map where players can race and avoid obstacles to win game points, which are different than loyalty points. The lo-fi gameplay gives racers the option to use an electric car, electric bike or electric skateboard, all of which are real prizes that will be awarded to select winners. Players will be able to access the game via desktop and mobile devices.
- The video game will last 48 hours, from June 23 to June 25, and will be accessible through a brand microsite. Through this interactive effort, Chipotle is hoping to drive interest in its loyalty program, a key contributor to the brand's growing digital customer base.
Chipotle's latest digital effort uses gamification to engage customers who are already members of its loyalty program, Chipotle Rewards, as well as invite non-members to join as the program commences a significant update. Previously, Chipotle Rewards points — which are distributed via food purchases — went exclusively toward entrees, but with Rewards Exchange, members can now redeem points for more than fifteen different options, including food, drinks and merchandise. Members also have the choice to redeem points to support a Chipotle nonprofit partner.
To promote the idea that members can receive these rewards quickly, Chipotle is activating the racing game. The gameplay mirrors aspects of popular racing games, such as the option to choose from a number of vehicles, the presence of obstacles intended to throw off racers and the accumulation of game points as an incentive to succeed. These features target Gen Z and millennial audiences in particular, as they are more likely to be gamers and they account for half of Chipotle's customer base. The effort's lo-fi graphics are a special nod to millennials, resembling the games of the cohort's past.
Prizes further incentivize customers to play. Up to the first 500,000 players who, for both days of the race, pass two Chipotle restaurants in the game will receive 250 loyalty points, which equal a free bag of chips, per the release. The grand prize is a 2021 Tesla Model 3, which will be awarded to the top eligible scorer at the end of the race. Players coming in second through fourth place will receive an electric bike, and those ranking fifth through tenth will receive an electric skateboard. These eco-friendly giveaways match the vehicles-of-choice in the video game, and are consistent with Chipotle's efforts toward sustainability.
The chain's loyalty program has been key to its successful marketing, allowing it to create more sophisticated messaging, which could explain the brand's eagerness to continue growing its user base. Chipotle Rewards launched in March 2019, and by the end of the year had notched 8 million members. The program now has nearly 23 million, according to the release.
In the impending post-cookie world in which first-party data will be necessary for targeted advertising, loyalty programs like Chipotle's could serve an increasingly vital purpose. Such databases give brands direct information on their users, which is often collected via microsites, as in the case of Chipotle Race for Rewards Exchange. A host of other chains as a result have recently launched loyalty programs of their own, including Popeyes, McDonald's and Taco Bell.