Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chipotle breaks 10 words or less OOH rule

+ Often on my way into work I get stuck in morning commuter traffic. What else is there to beyond playing spot the out-of-state license plates and looking for the funniest or strangest personalized plates? Well, me, yes, I look at the OOH. So, recently when the new creative went up along the highway, I obviously noticed the new Chipotle billboards. Even in stop-and-go traffic it took me a couple days to catch everything on the board...why? Because they decided to throw the rules out the window when it comes to billboard copy.

Typically the rule of thumb is to have 10 words or less. This allows the words to be large enough to be read from far away and "gotten" at a glance. This billboard has 23 words (plus logo), which reads "At Chipotle, we like to talk about why meat raised without hormones tastes so delicious, but the ad agency insisted we be direct."

But what's interesting about the execution of this ad is that they put 3 words in bold - "Chipotle" "tastes" "delicious", so even if you miss the larger message, you're still taking away something. Even if it is a bit generic.

The font is also different from their other OOH. After a quick google search, it turns out it's part of a new campaign done in house.
“In the past, our ad agencies told us” the things that the campaign takes issue with, said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer at the New York office of Chipotle, which is based in Denver. As a result, “we struggled a little bit with agencies,” he added, referring to the company’s churning through several shops before deciding to take its account in-house.

Agencies were being “too clever” in trying to explain that Chipotle “doesn’t do things the rest of the restaurant industry does,” Mr. Crumpacker said, giving as an example billboards that read “Big farms, not big pharma.”

“That’s a clever headline,” he added, “but I guarantee you one out of a hundred people understand” that it referred to the fact that Chipotle buys meat raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones.

So the company decided to create ads that are more direct, Mr. Crumpacker said, and “just say” outright the points about its food that Chipotle wants to get across.

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