The company's Twitter account wasn't really hacked, despite the fact that the company actually tweeted that it had "a little problem" with its account. However, on Wednesday the company admitted the Twitter SNAFU was just part of a publicity stunt tied to its 20th anniversary promotional campaign.
It seemed likely that it was a hack. After all, it wouldn't have been the first fast food chain to have its Twitter account hacked in recent memory. In February, Burger King's Twitter account was hacked, with tweets claiming it had been sold to its rival, McDonald's.
Ironically, McDonald's was once a major investor in Chipotle.
Chris Arnold, a Chipotle representative, said:
We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people's attention and make them talk, and it did that. It was definitely thought out: We didn't want it to be harmful or hateful or controversial.The publicity seemed to work. Chipotle's Twitter account added more than 4,000 followers on the day of the faux hack, compared to the normal rate of additions: about 250 followers per day.
In addition, the tweets in question -- still available for viewing (above) -- were retweeted approximately 12,000 times. Normally, Chipotle's Twitter account sees about 75 retweets daily.
Despite what you might think, Chipotle isn't the first brand to try to gain attention with a fake Twitter account hacking. Shortly after Burger King -- and Jeep -- had their accounts hacked in February, BET and MTV staged their own hacks to leverage the press coverage.