Would You Like “Trust” With That?


Chipotle is spending a shit ton of money on a short film produced by Creative Artists Agency Marketing with Brittany Howard lead singer of the Alabama Shakes and other bells and whistles in the hope that it can correct is loss of sales (said to be 1/3) due to its tainted food problems of last year.

The New York Times reported the story to day and brand expert William G. Daddi was quoted as saying “Chipotle is trying to reassure its connection to wholesomeness and quality, but it does not address the fundamental issue here, which is a breakthrough of trust between the brand and the target audience, it risks leaving issues unresolved.” He goes on to say the company needs to share what it has done to resolve the problem – and there he is absolutely correct.  But it’s the first part of his quote I take issue with.  That’s the stuff that gives brand people a bad name. A breakthrough of trust?  Chipotle is a fast food restaurant, not a politician. Trust is not a core value of Chipotle. It’s a company that feeds millions of people a day. When it comes to really fresh food – food untainted by preservatives – stuff happens. It’s awful and must be root-caused and fixed, but this is life. Plants die, bacteria lives. Get over it.

What Chipotle needs to be focusing on is what it always has: A mission to deliver fresh, humanely-sourced organic food.  And it needs to demonstrate what it is doing to understand and mitigate problems tied to the contamination. Proof, not a sign-songy story top engender trust.

No one goes to Chipotle for a big honkin’ buritto with red beans, corn salsa and trust.  Fix the problem, share the proof and let’s move on.