Big Burrito Campaign Goes Mad!

June 2011

When Mad Mex Founder Clovis Young developed the Big Burrito as a fun, month-long way for the brand to draw consumer’s attention to the Cinco de Mayo holiday on 5 May, he never imagined that the result would be sales in excess of 4500 Big Burritos and a social media phenomenon unlike any other the brand has seen before.

Searching for something more attention-grabbing and engaging for his brand than a one-day menu item discount, Young wanted a concept that would educate customers about this fun Mexican holiday, while expanding Mad Mex’s consumer base and drawing in consumers who hadn’t previously engaged with the brand. Toying with the 2-to-1 odds that a Mexican army overcame to win the historic 1862 Battle of Puebla that Cinco de Mayo commemorates, he conceived the Big Burrito as a way to tap into his young consumer base of Gen’s X and Y and their love of a challenge, presenting them with the same odds.

An offering double the size of their standard menu item, the Big Burrito was filled with double the standard portion and wrapped in two tortillas, the end result weighing in at more than a kilogram. Those that managed to finish it were offered a special edition t-shirt that would provide bragging rights.  

With the campaign being accompanied by a publicity push and social media promotion, Young expected the sell through across his nine east coast stores may reach several hundred per week. Instead, more than 1000 Big Burritos were sold per week throughout May, the company’s Facebook filled with over 200 photos of customers attempting the challenge while a Twitter search for ‘Mad Mex Burrito’ produces an endless stream of content, the majority consumers bragging that they’ve done or will attempt the Big Burrito challenge. One Twitter follower even posted photos from the lunchtime queue at a Mad Mex restaurant showing a line-up snaking out of the store and half the length of the food court that it sits in.

The campaign also delivered the business it’s best week yet since it opened its doors in November 2007.   

The result has been absolutely phenomenal, the campaign certainly exceeded all expectations,” says Young. “We weren’t sure how our customers would respond to the idea of a food challenge, and the widespread excitement and enthusiasm has been a great surprise. It demonstrates the fun and energetic personality of our customers and their connection with the Mad Mex brand. The marketplace is overloaded with messaging that is targeted at our customer demographics, so we are pleased that our customers engage with Mad Mex so actively and promote the brand to their peers through word of mouth and social media.”

For Young, the success of the Big Burrito campaign demonstrates that such tactics, though not part of a long-term business strategy, can be an effective way for a brand such as his to draw widespread attention, re-engage with existing customers and engage with new customers in a way that Mad Mex’s tech-savvy market will respond to quickly.

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