This summer, an interview with a 7-year old named Tariq describing his favorite food, corn, went viral within days of being dueted on TikTok. Since Chipotle has its very own roasted chili-corn salsa on the menu, the emerging “Corn Kid" craze was the perfect opportunity for the brand to lead the way in culture. But it had to be done quickly–before other brands jumped in–and in a way that would further Chipotle’s overarching strategy of celebrating its superfans and their passion for real food.
The idea: tap into the conversation about corn via a collaboration with Corn Kid himself–with an original video that surprised and delighted fans by capturing him ordering his favorite corn salsa burrito bowl at his local Chipotle.
Chipotle’s goals were to:
Tap into cultural conversation in an organic way
Drive brand awareness and affinity through word of mouth and earned PR
Spotlight a key menu item
Connect with Gen Z
With a strategy focused on celebrating what its superfans love most, Chipotle regularly taps into real-time opportunities and culture where it makes the most sense. The constant challenge is doing this authentically while driving awareness and craveability around its real and fresh food.
As Corn Kid began taking off on the internet, Chipotle needed to act quickly to ensure that the brand would not just be a part of an accelerating real-time conversation, but take the lead in it, while also spotlighting its own fresh ingredients. The plan of action was to work directly with Corn Kid on a piece of feel-good content for the brand’s owned channels that celebrated the viral “Corn Song” while surprising and delighting Chipotle’s fans and beyond.
The main challenge in bringing the activation to life: standing out from consumers and brands who were using the sound on TikTok.
So, Chipotle took co-creation to the next level, and within 24 hours of concepting they partnered up with Tariq to shoot an original piece of content–featuring him ordering his favorite roasted-chili corn salsa burrito bowl at his local Chipotle.
Chipotle became the first brand to team up with Corn Kid and the video became their #1 top performing TikTok, Facebook and Instagram post ever, with more than 110 million video views and nearly 13M owned engagements–including over 1.43M shares on Instagram.
The video didn’t just break the internet. Press also took note, with the Chipotle x Corn Kid collaboration garnering over 768 stories and 1.1 billion PR impressions, including coverage in The New York Times.
Importantly, the video also successfully drove the business forward, with an October report by Bernstein Research giving Chipotle an Outperform rating while citing a 35% upside in the stock’s potential growth due to its success in connecting with young audiences through TikTok.
It proved successful in naturally and cleverly bringing together real-time culture and the story of Chipotle’s fresh ingredients in a way that Gen Z could rally around across channels.