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Chipotle Napkins: A Case Study in Successful Marketing

If you browse the “napkins” tag on Twitter, you will find that nearly all such tweets can be categorized in one of three ways: 1) people complaining that [insert fast food chain] doesn’t provide enough napkins 2) people pontificating that they “must be the ONLY person to hoard napkins in their glovebox/console” (FYI this is a near-universal phenomenon whose untapped marketing potential I discuss here) and 3) people thanking Chipotle for their gratuitous napkin provision.

So let’s talk about point number three… how this rather innocuous detail of Chipotle’s business practice has such a profound impact on the Twittersphere:

WHAT THE NAPKIN IS: Chipotle’s napkin is simple; it is a one-ply kraft dispenser napkin, with custom printing in brown ink on both the front and back panels. The front panel has the corporate logo. The back panel… generally some quippy little story about the napkin’s recycled content. It is uniquely Chipotle, but it is still… just a napkin. It is a small part of C…

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