A perfect TikTok from Chipotle

A great creative idea to promote a great brand promo. Social doesn't get better than this.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby

The social media briefing process should be pretty simple:

  1. Brand has a strategy or initiative they’d like to promote.
  2. The social or creative team devises a social-first way to message the initiative.
  3. Profit.

Something you’ll see a lot in this newsletter: examples of brands nailing that process, along with detailed breakdowns. That’s why I’m so excited about this Chipotle TikTok series.

Chipotle pushed its queso blanco pretty hard the last two years. The newest promo: Free queso Mondays if you order from their app. Heckuva deal. Certainly one folks are going to jump at.

If you’re in advertising, you’ll probably ask for an “insight” before getting to the creative. Fine. Here’s a handful of insights (and don’t you dare argue with me about what is and isn’t an insight—save that for agencies):

  • Often, Chipotle fans customize their items past the basic menu. There’s the quesarito, nachos, “dragon sauce.” It’s a whole thing.
  • “Hacks” are a forever-popular content format. People love seeing products they’re familiar with used in unexpected ways. The word “hack” itself carries buzzy weight and works as a hook for viewers.
  • “Shot on iPhone” content with native TikTok text treatment makes brand TikToks come off as more personal, authentic, and less brand-y.

That’s what makes Chipotle’s new series of “queso hacks” so perfect. Let’s break down this 15-second TikTok with their Spicy Queso Hack.

0:00–0:03: Visual + voiceover hook. “Here’s a hack you can use to make spicy queso at Chipotle” is clear, unmistakable, and interesting.

0:04–0:08: Making the spicy queso. Three simple steps in four seconds, quick cuts on what’s clearly an iPhone camera for nativeness.

0:09–0:15: The promo. All the details + the promo code in big, TikTok fonts. We, the users, are happy to hear the message since we’re already entertained and the promo’s for free food.

A simple 15 seconds that’s full of creativity while also pleasing brand managers. It’s the dream. Sure, shouting, “FREE QUESO!!!” would’ve worked plenty fine, but you get wayyy more brand awareness, wayyy more social engagement, and wayyy more sales when you actually allow your social team to social up the idea instead of tossing up some basic ad; 371,000 TikTok views can’t be wrong.

A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby