Chipotle: Cultivate A Better World

Category: David vs. Goliath
Brand/Client: Chipotle
Lead Agency: Creative Artists Agency

State of the brand's business

When Chipotle chose to make sustainable food its business, it took on the entire fast food industry.

In 1999, founder Steve Ells learned about the impact of industrialized farming on animal welfare, the environment, and family farms. Chipotle was still a regional chain, and Ells swore that his company's growth would embrace sustainable and ethically raised food. Sustainability became Chipotle's business, but their competition, many orders of magnitude larger, dominated food culture. Chipotle was in for an uphill battle.

Strategic challenge

Chipotle's sustainable food mission placed them in direct economic competition with fast food giants who used highly processed globally sourced foods, backed by the biggest marketing budgets in the restaurant industry.