Fresh off a new food safety scandal involving a suspected norovirus outbreak at a store in Virginia, Chipotle is attempting to disrupt the news cycle today with a marketing stunt: The burrito chain has recruited Wu-Tang Clan member and all-around musical genius RZA to aurally interpret its ingredients.
Called Savor.Wavs, the campaign involves “an immersive digital experience that reinterprets each ingredient in Chipotle’s food as music and responsive visuals,” a press release explains. Visitors to savorwavs.com are encouraged to select their desired Chipotle order, and ingredient by ingredient, a song is composed; using a salad as the base of your meal sounds like subtle maracas, while carnitas produce a sultry-sounding sax riff with booming percussion. (Likely realizing that the average Chipotle-eating human is not going to take 10 minutes out of their day to compose a burrito bowl track for the sheer fun of it, completing the exercise rewards users with a buy-one-get-one-free offer.)
Presumably, Chipotle’s marketing team believes that in a Venn diagram of potential Chipotle customers and Wu-Tang fans, the overlap is big enough to justify whatever it paid RZA for this endeavor. The chain did not disclose that amount, but indicated to Bloomberg that “it was less than the $5 million that a Super Bowl ad would have cost.” [thinking face emoji]
A major marketing push was part of the multi-pronged recovery plan Chipotle laid out for itself following the 2015 food safety debacle that led to its profits plummeting by 95 percent in 2016 — though the chain had also pledged to quit giving away free food in 2017. But in the wake of another food safety scare that sent its stock price diving yesterday, anything to get new customers in the door is probably a good move.