Free Chipotle Burrito? First, Tell Your Friends about NBC

Chipotle While Jena was being wined and dined over at 94 Mass Ave. for tweeting, I discovered another restaurant that is using social media to treat its customers.

Chipotle, the behemoth burrito chain, is currently offering a buy one get one free deal to any Facebook user that watches a promo ad for “America’s Next Great Restaurant,” a new reality show premiering March 6th on NBC.

As soon as I found this offer, I signed in, saw the ad and 90 seconds later, I had a coupon for free food sitting on my desk. Admittedly, placing an order at Chipotle will be difficult for me as I am a devout fanatic – or addict, rather – of Anna's Taqueria, a local Boston-based burrito chain. Nevertheless, a free meal is a free meal and I’ll be back at Anna’s all too soon.

This conflict of interest brings up a great PR point, however. My loyalties are strong and I really wouldn’t go to Chipotle if it weren’t for this offer. In fact, I don’t even know where the closest one is! Everyone knows that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and all of a sudden, I am associating a new TV show and a restaurant’s brand with a simple act of succulent kindness.

You may ask why Chipotle is standing behind a TV show promoting other new restaurants. Behind the scenes, Chipotle’s CEO Steven Ells is one of four investors involved with America’s Next Great Restaurant. Naturally, he is leveraging his own businesses to fuel interest in his latest investment, but he’s doing so in a viral way. In order to get my free burrito, I had to “Like” the show’s Facebook page before I could see the ad and get my coupon. This was a small price to pay for me, but a huge payoff for NBC, considering that my casual click was instantly pinged across my entire network of friends. Now, more people are instantly aware of the new show and Chipotle can expect an influx of new customers in the form of my fellow burrito-fiending friends. What delicious synergy!

Can Chipotle offer up a burrito that will steal me away from my sweet affair with Anna’s Taqueria? Only time will tell, but now I certainly see Chipotle in a whole new light.

Check out the offer here.

Contributed by Andy Fosbrook. Follow him @atfosbrook