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Halloween Silver Bullet Cause Marketing

Come into Chipotle after 6pm this Halloween costumed as the scariest junk food you can imagine, hand them $2 and you'll get the silver bullet antidote to over-processed food in the form of a burrito, tacos, salad or rice bowl. In turn, Chipotle will donate the $2 to Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution, up to $1 million.

Take a picture of your costume in a way that shows Chipotle in the photo and submit it online before November 8 and you could win a grand prize of $2,500. Runners up get a check for $1,000, and third prize winners get a burrito party for 20 people.

The promotion, Brandweek reports, costs Chipotle as much as $3 million. It's an extension of the chain's longstanding promotion of inviting customers to dress up for Halloween as their favorite Chipotle menu item to get the silver bullet burrito completely free.

So why spend $3 million to raise no more than $1 million? Or, why doesn't Chipotle just write a $3 million check to Oliver's foundation?

While the burrito or tacos or salad or rice bowl is just $2 when you dress up as scary food, the drinks, the chips and the guacamole are not. And unless your dining companions also come dressed up as fried Twinkies or funnel cakes (um, funnel cakes!) their meal is extra.

It also helps cement Chipotle's positioning as a wholesome alternative to burgers and fries, or, for that matter, what passes for burritos at the national taco chains.

The promotion is also almost inherently viral. The addition of the sweepstakes is a nice way to capture pictures and use them promotionally. But I wonder why Chipotle didn't enable the promotion to really go viral by requiring people to post the photos on their Facebook page or Twitter account. That would spread the promotion much more broadly.

Finally, I can't help but wonder if Chipotle would honor the $2 price if you came in dressed as a cup of Coke ;).

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