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    Chipotle bends reality in new ad during NHL game

    • Chipotle this week unveiled a new mixed-reality ad with the Colorado Avalanche NHL team, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
    • The QSR chain used technology from The Famous Group, a fan experience technology company, to create a unique commercial for the Avalanche’s second-round Stanley Cup playoff game against the St. Louis Blues. Displayed on the Jumbotron, the spot depicted a Chipotle-branded Zamboni bringing out a massive burrito bowl onto the ice. As it’s dropped on the ice, a giant gloved hand breaks through and grabs the bowl. The ad had notched about over a 115,000 views on Twitter as of press time.
    • The creative spot builds on prior Chipotle campaigns that integrate its brand into virtual- or mixed-reality content, including several Roblox activations. The technology used in the Jumbotron stunt could also be applied to other platforms to reach a wider audience.

    Chipotle has sought to expand its reach through both sports sponsorships and virtual activations. In late 2021, the chain struck a multiyear deal with the NHL, making it the official Mexican-themed quick service and Mexican-themed fast-casual restaurant of the NHL in North America. The deal marked the QSR’s first major professional sports sponsorship.

    In its latest tie-up with the NHL, the ad cleverly bends technology in a creative and memorable way that goes beyond typical stadium advertising. The campaign, which is reminiscent of games like Pokemon Go, may help to keep in-person audiences engaged via entertaining content. The novelty of seeing a live feed of the rink getting attacked by a massive hand is bound to stay with viewers, and has the potential for wider social media reach, as suggested by the view count on Twitter.

    The ad marks a relatively new type of marketing activation for Chipotle. The merging of the virtual and digital worlds signals that Chipotle is not only looking for ways to stand out, but also that it wishes to integrate its virtual and in-person efforts. Chipotle recently unveiled a Roblox tie-in where users can roll virtual burritos to earn codes for free, real food. Last fall, the restaurant set up a virtual shop for Halloween. Folks that visited received a redeemable code for a free entree.

    Many consumers are eager to get back to in-person events as stadiums fill up again amid the waning pandemic. Chipotle’s ad with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche this week provides a familiar and innovative virtual element to a live event, while also posing the possibility for scaling and integration to other platforms.

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