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 Admits To Fake-Hacking Its Twitter Feed

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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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.