Agency: NBC Entertainment
Campaign: America’s Next Great Restaurant & Chipotle Unite
Client: NBC Universal
In March 2011, NBC was set to launch a new reality show centered around competing restaurants, called America’s Next Great Restaurant. Out of 21 contestants, one winner of the nine-week competition would be awarded a franchise based on their own idea and concept, which would be built in three locations across the U.S.
Against heavy TV viewing competition, particularly in the food category, NBC needed to generate awareness for the new show and entice people to tune in by proving its uniqueness.
Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle Mexican Grill and an investor in the restaurant chain, was a key judge for the show. Ells launched Chipotle as a burrito restaurant in Denver in 1993 with a loan from his father. It’s now a multi-billion dollar franchise with more than 1,100 locations in the U.S. and 750,000 customers daily.
To get in front of viewers and engage them, NBC felt that users needed more than a :15 second commercial. The network wanted to give viewers a full two minutes with the content to truly communicate the show’s concept.
A promotion was designed around social networking making it easy for people to consume and share information. This also helped the network cultivate a team of digital ambassadors to spread the word about the show and the promotional offer.
Chipotle had seen higher than average success with its buy-one-get-one burrito coupons, so NBC decided to play off the idea of providing viewers with a free burrito. A :90 second video promoted the show and the free burrito offer, specifically highlighting Steve and Chipotle’s story. The campaign was supported with a Facebook page.
Within 24 hours, results surpassed goals for the entire 12-day promotion. More than 50,000 video views were executed within three hours of launching the promotion. More than 250,000 were recorded in 24 hours and 1.3 million were generated across the 12-day campaign.
Facebook fans for America’s Next Great Restaurant increased from 1,500 to 306,000. The program was covered by more than 25 press outlets, including Mashable who broke the story.