Chipotle Aiming For Long-Term Impact With Its 'Cultivating Thought' Author Series

LOS ANGELES , May 21, 2014 () – Seeing a restaurant chain use celebrities in its advertising is nothing new. But Chipotle’s new “Cultivating Thought” author series offers a more subtle approach to using well-known names that could very well have more of a long-term impact.

The series is a new program that features original essays written by influential thought leaders, authors, actors and comedians on Chipotle’s restaurant packaging. Created in partnership with New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer, the stories are meant to entertain customers while exposing them to some of the most creative and influential people of our time.

Each writer’s work will be featured on a cup or bag in Chipotle’s restaurants. The essays, all themed as “two-minute” readings, vary in topic and focus.

This is an extremely innovative approach to advertising. This goes beyond just using a name to sell a new taco or burrito bowl. Chipotle is attempting to connect with its customers on a level that has nothing to do with its products and in a way that’s completely the opposite of today’s in-your-face style on TV and social media.

Other contributors to this series include:

Judd Apatow, Golden Globe-nominated writer, director and producer;

Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author, journalist and speaker;

Bill Hader, Emmy-winning comedian, actor and producer;

Michael Lewis, New York Times bestselling author and journalist;

Toni Morrison, Pulitzer-and Nobel Prize-winning author;

Steve Pinker, award-winning experimental psychologist;

George Saunders, New York Times bestselling short-story and essay author; and

Sarah Silverman, Emmy-winning actress and comedian.

The results of this campaign may not be apparent immediately. But unlike most advertising, Chipotle is using a long-term play to capture customers. And it could just lead to bigger returns down the line.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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