Mendoza School of Business

Chipotle Bucks Fast-Food Convention While It Still Can

Published: March 12, 2012 / Author: Maureen Morrison

The following is an excerpt of an article in AdAge that quotes Marketing Professor Carol Phillips about Chipotle’s marketing to millennials. To read the entire article visit: Chipotle Bucks Fast-Food Convention While It Still Can.

Chipotle CMO Mark Crumpacker is in an enviable position.

He leads marketing for one of the best-performing fast-food chains in the country. The 19-year-old company posted an 11% jump in same-store sales last year, and there’s no sign it will slow. Yet he also has one of the leanest traditional-marketing budgets around.

Mr. Crumpacker joined Chipotle in 2009 as its first chief marketing officer. Not long after, the company ditched the agency-of-record model and brought its advertising in-house.

Chipotle made the change “mostly because it didn’t work several times in a row. … The problem — I can see now — was that we simply didn’t know what the right message was for our brand at the time,” Mr. Crumpacker told Ad Age. “It’s an expensive and difficult process to try to figure that out within the typical agency model. I don’t think [it] is set up to answer a question that fundamental.”


“Millennials view the lack of TV as more authentic,” said Carol Phillips, adjunct marketing and branding instructor at University of Notre Dame. “Millennials are likely to dismiss a lot of claims. They’re responding to everything the brand does and says.”


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