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Special Project

Special Project
From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards

Moe's Southwest Grill Calls Out Queso Imposters

Entered in Real Time Response


Seize the opportunity to highjack the news about Chipotle testing queso and insert Moe's into the conversation, touting the famous, authentic queso we've been serving for 17 years.

Strategy and Execution

• Release a tongue-in-cheek press release warning the public of queso imposters on the loose 48 hours after the Chipotle news broke

• Conduct targeted media pitching to reporters who covered the Chipotle story to capture the newsworthy value in a timely fashion

• Encourage anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to poser queso to report it by tweeting Moe's with #QuesoImposters

• Reinforce the Moe's Rockin' Rewards offer that all loyalty members get their first cup of queso for free

• Provide NYC media with another news hook; Moe's in Manhattan offered a free cup of queso with any purchase the following day

• Execute two queso drops to high priority media (BuzzFeed & Business Insider) who taste tested Chipotle's queso & were less than satisfied, ensuring they were consoled with Moe's authentic southwest-inspired "liquid gold"

Our queso is famous for a reason. Moe's has been the unequivocal queso king for 17 years now, pouring cups of velvety liquid gold every single day since our doors opened in 2000. Queso is a pivotal part of our menu - one we are known for just as much as our 'Welcome to Moe's!' greeting.

When we heard Chipotle was testing queso, we considered the challenge accepted. Just forty-eight hours after the news broke, the Moe's team activated a fully integrated campaign that boosted sales, brought the brand top of mind, and poked fun at our competitor in an irreverent way that stayed true to our brand voice.

Utilizing our strong media relationships, CNBC broke the Queso Imposter news in a positive light, thanks to the reporter's knowledge of our tongue-and-cheek attitude and previous coverage of the brand. This exclusive cascaded positive national media coverage across hundreds of top outlets, and sparked social conversation that excited old and new fans alike.

While our existing fans went wild for the PSA, we sweetened the deal by giving free cups of queso to those who joined our loyalty database, and kept Moe's relevant in the news.


• In one week, the Queso Imposters campaign amassed more than 185M impressions across online, social, print and broadcast media channels for an ROI of 110:1

• Increased conversation volume around the brand by 366% compared to the month prior, with 95% of the conversation being positive (5% neutral)

• Top-tier national online media placements included USA Today, Thrillist, Today, CNBC, Apple Stocks (app), The Daily Meal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Food & Wine

• Paid Facebook and Twitter ads drove 30,127 new loyalty sign-ups, 61% of which were new guests who came in to make a purchase after this campaign

• Highest performing paid Facebook content saw a 33% engagement rate and $0.01 CPM

• Of the 307 tweets that were posted using #QuesoImposters, all of them included Moe's for a 100% brand mention pull-through


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Moe's Southwest Grill


Entry Credits