Social Media Marketing: Chipotle’s Method to Their Faux Hack Madness

Last Sunday, Chipotle’s twitter account, known for having one of the most social, appeared to have fallen prey to the works of a hacker.  @ChipotleTweets released a stream of tweets that appeared to be a list of commands to Siri about directions, google searches, and texts. Tweets

Later on during the week, Chipotle admitted to the public that the twitter hack was just a publicity stunt tied to their 20th anniversary campaign, “Adventurrito.”  This announcement received mixed reviews from critics and fans, saying that the fake hack broke the trust of their customers.  This move is not that uncommon, with MTV and BET faking account hacks for publicity only a few months ago.

There is no doubt that the fake stunt increased Chipotle’s publicity; they gained 4,000 followers in a day, as well as publicity all over news and social media sites, but is this success worth their deception?

When it comes to faking account hacks, a real one is a nightmare for community managers to imagine.  But, a planned hack gives off an air of shameless self-promotion, leaving fans and followers feeling foolish.  Social media has helped many brands come closer to their customers, but alienating them on these sites can destroy their long built reputation.


chipotleChipotle was able to shy away from alienation and deception by giving their hack an underlying purpose; Adventurrito clues.  The puzzle of the day that Sunday was about the ingredients in Chipotle’s guacamole, so some of the tweets that appeared to be Google searches and texts were actually hints on the puzzle.  Chipotle has been hiding clues for their Adventurrito puzzles across all media, so the purpose of the hack was to follow along with these other hidden clues.

Instead of harmful tweets that might look even worse on the brand, Chipotle made sure their tweets were planned well, shying far away from anything hateful or controversial.

Planned social media hacks can appear to be bottom of the barrel self-promotion, but if executed with a deeper plan, such as clues for a contest, Chipotle is helping their customers, along with themselves.

Was Chipotle’s fake Twitter hack a terrible misstep in their otherwise untainted social media reputation?  Or was it a creative reinforcement to their Adventurrito campaign? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below, and on our Twitter and Facebook!

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