- Chipotle Mexican Grill partnered with skateboarding star Tony Hawk in an esports campaign that celebrates the first time the fast-casual chain has named a menu item after a celebrity. The Tony Hawk Burrito is made with his favorite ingredients and can be ordered from the Chipotle app and website, per an announcement.
- Starting Aug. 10, the first 2,000 fans who ordered the special burrito received access to an advance demo of the Activision video game "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2" for PlayStation 4, Xbox One or PC. The video game, which will be released on Sept. 4, is a remaster of the first two titles in the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" franchise from 20 years ago.
- Hawk will appear with skateboarder Jagger Eaton and actor Finn Wolfhard on the Chipotle channel on Twitch, the livestreaming platform owned by Amazon, at 2 p.m. ET on Aug. 14. They will play the "warehouse demo" version of the upcoming videogame and give out 5,000 burritos to viewers of the two-hour livestream, per the announcement.
Chipotle's campaign featuring Tony Hawk is notable for promoting the first menu item named after a celebrity, and its timing with the release of an Activision video game inspired by the skateboarding star. The first part of the campaign sought to drive orders from Chipotle's app and website, and the upcoming livestream on Twitch could help to reach a target audience of younger consumers who are most likely to watch esports events or to play video games.
Chipotle tends to be more popular among younger generations, especially Generation Z and millennials who are younger than 45 years old, per researcher Numerator. That demographic profile matches the average gamer in the U.S. About 59% of people under age 35 play video games, per the Entertainment Software Association, compared with 45% of the general population in that age group. Earlier this year, Chipotle brought Challenger Series, its real-world gaming tournament, online to create a virtual event.
Twitch's audience was forecast to grow by 14% to 37.5 million people in the U.S. this year, per researcher eMarketer, though the coronavirus pandemic increased viewership among people who were stuck at home during lockdowns. The average number of concurrent Twitch viewers more than doubled to 2.49 million from December to March, per TwitchTracker, and viewership has remained elevated in the ensuing months.
Chipotle has been active with its digital promotions in the past couple of years, mostly recently with its "Unlock the Guac" challenge that was part of its yearly celebration of National Avocado Day on July 31. The campaign asked mobile users to guess passwords to unlock an offer for free guacamole and send them in a text message to its SMS account. Chipotle provided clues to the secret passwords on its Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts. In June, Chipotle celebrated Pride Month with a "Lunch & Listen" session with influencers on its official TikTok channel to raise money for charity. During the pandemic, the brand has also been active on Zoom as a way to engage consumers stuck at home.
Chipotle is among the restaurant chains that have leaned more heavily on their mobile ordering and delivery services to partly make up for dining room closures. The company last month reported that revenue slipped 4.8% to $1.4 billion in Q2 from a year earlier, while comparable-restaurant sales dropped 9.8%. Its 216% surge in digital sales wasn't enough to lift top-line growth, which was partly constrained by ongoing lockdowns on about 30 of its restaurants, mainly in malls and shopping centers, according to a quarterly report.