Chipotle Admits To Fake-Hacking Its Twitter Feed

The fast-food firm thought a Twitter takeover by a benevolent doofus (just read those tweets and yawn) might up its follower count. It did.

Chipotle has admitted to fake-hacking its Twitter feed. The idea was to generate some column inches and maybe increase Twitter followers.

The stunt, however, failed a test that Fast Company's digital executive editor Noah Robischon feels is a cornerstone of social media: Don't Tweet Boring Shit. If blandness isn't a tenet of Mexican food, why would it be good on a Mexican fast food joint's Twitter feed? That, however, was exactly what the firm wanted. "We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people's attention and make them talk, and it did that," Chris Arnold, a Chipotle representative, told Mashable. "It was definitely thought out: We didn't want it to be harmful or hateful or controversial."

Chipotle, one of our 2011 Most Innovative Companies, already has what is almost a cult following (have you heard about the secret menu item, the quesarito?), so why pull off a stunt like this? MTV faked its own Twitter hack back in February following Burger King's account actually being hacked, leading to a burst in publicity. For Chipotle, the stunt seems to have worked--most days it gains around 250 Twitter followers. The hack-o (rhymes with Taco, geddit?) put on an extra 4,000 after the hack. So, I guess you can say it worked.

[Image: Flickr user angela n.]

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5 Comments

  • Thomas Outt

    It lacks integrity.  I may never have more than 20-30 Twitter Followers, may never top 100 Wordpress followers, but the ones I have are there because they want to be, not because I manipulated any system to get them there.  If you compromise in one area, then you'll compromise in another--and the wrong kind of compromise.  It was short-term thinking, not about thinking what is for the benefit of all concerned.  

  • Sarah

    I would be interested to see the follower attrition after people find out it was a planned 'hack.'

  • Will

    Bit of a non news article isn't it? 

    Quite obviously anybody who lacked knowledge of social media or it's applications wouldn't be let within anywhere near the company Twitter account. I suppose as a stunt it worked, but not sure it's news worthy...