Chipotle reaps rewards with NBA text drive

Chipotle has long been cited as one of the leaders in customer loyalty, and the brand allowed its loyalty program members to reap rewards with a campaign in June that connected diners by text message during the NBA Finals.

During the first four games of the championship series between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, Chipotle hid a unique keyword in its television adverts. The first 10,000 members of the brand’s Chipotle Rewards loyalty program to text that code to an SMS short code unlocked a buy-one, get-one-free offer.

“The activation required Chipotle Rewards members to react with speed, which grew increasingly more competitive as the series progressed,” Tressie Lieberman, vice president of digital marketing and off-premise at Chipotle, told Restaurant Dive.

Chipotle wasn’t even an official sponsor of the NBA or the NBA Finals, but it seems the innovative initiative worked a treat.

During the first game of the finals, Chipotle customers claimed all the offers in just two minutes, she said. If that sounds fast, loyalty members soon caught on; all of the offers were redeemed in less than a minute during the second game, and in less than 30 seconds during the third and fourth games, Lieberman said.

Chipotle Rewards is already a hugely popular program, having amassed more than 28 million members in the U.S. alone since it launched just three years ago. The company this month has now expanded the program to Canada, where it has 28 restaurants and plans to open four more locations this summer.

And still, the brand finds neat new ways to promote its loyalty scheme.

Sports fans are renowned these days for interacting online and on social media while they are watching games, and Chipotle has a history of looking to capitalize on that habit.

For example, in 2019, the company ran a game wherein every time the word “free” was said during a particular NBA Game game, Chipotle tweeted a unique code for viewers to text for a chance to receive a free burrito. Then, in 2020, it gave out a total of US$1 million in burritos to viewers who texted a keyword that appeared at the end of its ads.

More recently, Chipotle has added that kind of gamification to its loyalty program, allowing more ways and opportunities to earn and choose rewards.

Source: Restaurant Dive

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