Brief • 3 min Read
How much would you pay to get your brand in front of 96.4 million people? In 2021, Chipotle paid $5.5 million for their debut Super Bowl ad “Can a Burrito Change the World.” We argue that it may have been the best $5.5 million they ever spent (although Chipotle’s finance team may disagree.)
Undeniably pricey, Chipotle’s single Super Bowl ad appears to have left a lasting impact on their brand equity (consumers’ perceived value of a company ). When we compare Chipotle’s Harris Brand Platform brand equity score pre vs post Super Bowl (Feb 7, 2021), we see that Chipotle’s brand equity immediately rose in February, and remains elevated even more than halfway through 2022.
This long-term rise suggests that Chipotle’s marketing gamble may have paid off. While the ad itself only lasted for 30 seconds, its impact is still evident in their data more than a year later.
Chipotle’s Brand Equity Jan 2020 – July 2022
Harris Brand Platform. Base: US adults. 1/1/20-7/31/22. n=34,993.
Chipotle’s heartfelt Super Bowl ad highlights key issues within the current food system, and explains how Chipotle’s sourcing practices offer a positive alternative. In the commercial, a young boy narrates how producing a sustainable burrito can impact the food system and the overall planet.
In addition to their focus on sustainable sourcing, Chipotle works to assist farmers, a group that has been steadily on the decline. Over the last decade, food production has lost 40 times more farmers than it has gained. The brand has donated millions of dollars to this group over the years. Throughout the Super Bowl, Chipotle donated $1 of every order to the National Young Farmers Coalition. These actions have shown consumers that Chipotle is dedicated to fiscally supporting the causes they champion.
Chipotle’s Sales Conversion Funnel Pre vs Post Super Bowl LV
Harris Brand Platform. Base: US adults. 1/31/21-2/6/21. n=336. 2/8/21-2/15/21. n=367.
When we compare Chipotle’s sales conversion funnel pre vs post Super Bowl, we see that all phases of the sales conversion funnel widened. Unsurprisingly, Chipotle’s brand awareness (+4.0) and familiarity (+6.2) both increased after millions of Super Bowl viewers saw their national ad spot. Willingness to try (trial, +7.8) Chipotle restaurants increased even more significantly.
Most notably, consumer’s willingness to promote the Chipotle brand went up by more than 50%. Chipotle’s recommend phase of the funnel increased +9.9 from 15.7 to 25.6. This is a significant accomplishment, showing that favorability towards and excitement for the brand greatly increased after the Super Bowl. With more customers actively promoting the brand, Chipotle’s brand equity is able to organically grow at very little additional cost to the company.
So while we aren’t sure whether or not a burrito can actually change the world, we feel pretty confident saying that $5.5 million can change brand equity.
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