- Chipotle will give away up to $1 million in free burritos as part of a mobile promotion running around the close of the current NBA season, according to a news release.
- Every time an announcer — including play-by-play announcers, color commentators and sideline reporters — says "free" on-air during the first half of official league game coverage, the Mexican fast-casual chain will offer up to 500 burritos. For the second half of games, mentions of "free" will result in 1,000 burritos up for grabs. The regular-priced entrée meals will be available to mobile users who text unique codes that will be shared on Chipotle's Twitter channel to the number 888222. The giveaway is capped to the first 20 on-air mentions of "free" per game.
- The "Freeting" campaign also waives delivery fees for orders of $10 or more placed through Chipotle's app, website and the delivery platform DoorDash during the final series of the NBA season. Chipotle didn't work with the NBA in any official capacity on the promotion.
Chipotle is leveraging the idea of second-screen viewing — the time people spend commenting and checking in on mobile apps like Twitter while watching destination live TV — to drive mobile engagement and interest in its delivery options around the close of the NBA season. Since the "Freeting" deal isn't associated with the sports league in any official capacity, the campaign is a means for Chipotle to target basketball fans when they're most excited and attentive without having to pay for a sponsorship or on-air placements that are likely pricey at the close of the season.
Focusing on Twitter for the burrito giveaway acknowledges the massive following the NBA has accrued on the social media platform. Ahead of the 2018 finals, Twitter stated that the NBA was the most talked about professional sports league on its site, as reported in The Washington Post. The app earned that title despite not commanding the largest TV audience last year. Chipotle could tap into that type of online swell as the 2019 season speeds toward a close. Extending the promotion via SMS enables Chipotle to drive traffic into its locations and to its digital ordering platform via a redemption code that will be texted to winners.
"We know that basketball fans are some of the most passionate fans in sports, so we're putting even more, about one million dollars more, on the line by 'freeting' through these final games," Chipotle CMO Chris Brandt said in a statement.
The campaign is another indication of the premium Chipotle is putting on mobile and digital channels as it continues to turnaround a business that was previously battered by multiple food safety crises and sluggish adoption of the ordering trends that are in vogue with valuable audiences like millennials. Doing more work with DoorDash has helped gin up sales considerably for Chipotle. The brand last year claimed that partnering with the platform boosted its weekly delivery orders by 667%.
Chipotle has also put heavier marketing behind its recently revamped app, website and loyalty offering. In March, the company partnered with the digital payments app Venmo to drive interest in Chipotle Rewards. Such tie-ups have appeared to pay off. Chipotle's app downloads on Android phones jumped 480% from the prior 12-month average, with daily active users spiking 273%, according to an analyst note from Barclays Capital published earlier this spring.