Cannes Lions

For Real


Case Film








Launching “For Real” meant not just talking about real, but being real. We invited acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris and his cameras into our kitchens. Through unscripted conversations with employees, we provided an unfiltered look at real people (employees) doing the same real cooking they do every morning. The topic: the real differences between our process and the rest of the fast food world.

In other media, we applied that same unflinching transparency. We put a spectacular OOH board in Times Square showing every single ingredient that goes into our food – importantly, nothing you can’t find in a normal grocery store (and nothing you can’t pronounce, either).

We did a social livestream from the morning food prep in a restaurant, also streamed in outdoor for the world to see. We even entered the Rose Bowl Parade with a float decorated entirely with the real ingredients you’d find at any Chipotle.


In 2018, a world of Kardashians, Fyre Festival and Trump, young people and culture at large had become accustomed to tuning out or distrusting any exaggerations, gimmicks or distortions. People were craving honesty and transparency from popular personalities and brands. And food brands were no exception. Consumers saw through empty PR headlines and marketing BS and wanted something REAL.

We realized hyperbole would only hurt us, and more claims would invite more skepticism. So, we went to the restaurants to see for ourselves what makes Chipotle special.

We were inspired by the employees’ passion and pride. One manager put it this way: “I only wish people knew how differently we do things here.” And we realized, nothing tells that story better than the simple fact that every ingredient, every meal at Chipotle is REAL. No tricks, no shortcuts, just responsibly sourced, real food, prepared in restaurant by real people.

Focusing on that real food, cooked by real people, in real kitchens, every day, was the most honest way to gain back the public’s trust. By telling the real story of Chipotle and celebrating how we do things differently than other national chains, our totally unprocessed process would speak for itself.


The creative strategy resulted in some truly remarkable business results. In the first three months of the campaign, revenue increased 10.4% to $1.2B. Digital sales grew 65.6% and accounted for 12.9% of sales. The stock price almost tripled to $714.68 from a 2018 low. This sea change was not only felt in the marketplace and among consumers, but within the Chipotle organization as well - which was primed for North Star to guide them. In the words of Brian Niccol, Chipotle CEO, “The growth acceleration …gives us confidence that our strategy…is working. When we connect with guests through culturally relevant marketing, [the consumers] respond enthusiastically.” B. Niccol, 2.6.19

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