Chipotle’s “Guacpocalypse” Exemplifies Traditional PR Practices

Chipotle announced in a small section of its annual report that climate changes may stop the company from serving guacamole for a short period of time. This caused a bit of outrage from consumers. photo(2)

The story went viral on Tuesday after blog Think Progress posted a story reporting that Chipotle included a filing in the past month reporting that increasing food prices due to climate change may result in the company halting the sale of guacamole rather than paying the increased prices.

Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold assured that the section about climate change possibly stopping the store’s sale of guacamole was a regulatory filing. This disclosing is listed in the risk factors section of the company’s 10-K.

Chipotle spokespeople spent Wednesday afternoon aggressively spreading the word that consumers should not worry.

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The company adamantly preached that this is a normal, routine and regulatory part of a company’s annual report and this is not the first time the company has included something like this in the report.

This mini guacpocalypse crisis (No, I didn’t make up this word. I’m only that clever in my dreams) caused some uproar from Chipotle’s consumers, but the company did a good job of communicating its key messages to the general public.

Many articles on multiple media outlets put the guacpocalypse rumors to rest on Wednesday, including this article from NBC. It is articles like these that make it obvious that Chipotle worked in alignment with the news media to be sure that the correct messages were portrayed to the public. This is traditional PR at its best.

There was some communication from Chipotle spokespeople and news reporters about the truth of the guacpocalypse on Twitter and other social media platforms, but the vast majority of the messages were communicated through traditional news media outlets. This is a very important fact to recognize.

Many PR professionals argue that traditional PR has lost its momentum. News releases and print media could be on its way out, with social media coming in to take over the ball game. But that hasn’t quite happened yet.

This mini crisis proves a great point.  In this case, Chipotle used traditional PR tactics to combat the false rumors.  The success of Chipotle’s use of traditional PR tactics to combat the false guacpocalypse rumors shows that traditional PR is still alive and operating in today’s ever-growing online society.

Now, I’m going to go celebrate this traditional PR win with some chips and guac.

Photo via @ChipotleTweets

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2 thoughts on “Chipotle’s “Guacpocalypse” Exemplifies Traditional PR Practices

  1. I completely agree with you that Chipotle handled this situation very well. They did all the right things in order to make sure that everyone knew what was really going on… not an actual “guacpocolypse”. This also goes to show how kind of sad it is that the public is so obsessed with Chipotle’s guac…. I am one of those people. Not afraid to admit it!

  2. I agree that Chipotle did an excellent job of being transparent in this case. They didn’t wait for people to get angry, they immediately reacted and spent the rest of the day reassuring customers that they wouldn’t be running out of guacamole. Somebody at Chipotle PR knows what they’re doing. Also, guacpocalypse is like the most fun word to say out loud, ever.

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