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Volume 26 No. 46
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Chipotle Mexican Grill Gets Clever With NBA Finals Ambush Promotion

Chipotle Mexican Grill is "trying not-so-subtly to connect its brand to the NBA Finals through ambush marketing," while Taco Bell returns as an "official sponsor with its own promotional plans," according to Jessica Wohl of AD AGE. Chipotle will run a promotion where "each time an announcer says 'free' during the main TV broadcast," it will "disclose codes on Twitter that are good for chances to score free burritos." However, since Taco Bell is the "chain with official ties to the NBA, Chipotle had to be somewhat clever about the way it worded its offer." Rather than "saying NBA Finals in its press release, Chipotle used phrases such as 'the official coverage of the men's professional basketball championship series.'" Chipotle's offer is "only valid for the first 20 times the word 'free' is uttered by the announcers during each game, with up to 500 giveaways for each utterance in the first half and up to 1,000 giveaways each time it's said in the second half." Chipotle is working with Day One Agency, N.Y., on the promotion. Meanwhile, Taco Bell's official NBA partnership is "entering its ninth year." The chain is "back with its 'Steal A Game, Steal A Taco' offer for the fourth consecutive year," where if a "road team wins a game, fans win free Doritos Locos Tacos" (ADAGE.com, 5/29).