How Chipotle Made Email Sexy (Sort of) With 'Doppelgänger'

GALE ECD Jason McCann dishes on the data-driven recipe

GALE has been working with Chipotle for over three years. For most of that time, we've had a standing brief to bring forward any ideas that can make a big impact with our biggest fans. (We call their communications "insane mail.")

Chipotle has 53 ingredients people can customize into countless different combinations. And we know from listening to Chipotle fans on social media, lots of them take great pride in how unique they THINK their order is: extra cheese, half and half beans, light tomatillo sauce, etc. You might call it their burrito fingerprint. 

We also have access to every single order placed nationwide. And we know for a fact that even the unlikeliest combinations get repeated.

So, for our standing mission to engage Chipotle mega-fans, we thought it would be interesting—with just the right amount of personalization—to let them know that someone else loves their Chipotle in exactly the same way.

That’s how we came up with "Chipotle Doppelgänger."

Our technology team created a system to scan millions of orders every day in near real-time. We were looking for orders that matched at least eight criteria. Here's an example: 

1. Chicken burrito 
2. Double protein 
3. Brown rice
4. Half black beans & half pinto beans
5. Tomato Salsa
6. Tomatillo-red chili salsa
7. Sour cream 
8. Queso Blanco on the side 
9. Small guac and chips 

The email itself was designed to look more like a system alert than a slick marketing message.  It shared which cities the orders came from, the specific ingredients, and the time of the order. That's essentially the same information you get on a receipt, we just packaged it in a surprising way. 

In the campaign's first month, 466,000 emails were sent, with an open rate 175 percent above benchmark (with an estimated revenue boost of $4.8 million).

For some, the notions of "data-driven" and "creative" are at opposite ends of a spectrum. We just replace the word "data" with "relevant." We want to tell relevant stories, and understanding our audience is at the core of that process.  

"Dopplegänger" is a great example of how data and creativity can be combined to deliver breakthrough ideas and a big impact on the bottom line. 

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