Ghosted [‘gōst-təd] v. : When a person expresses love, interest, or affection for someone or something and the person they are speaking to only says “Ditto”, like Patrick Swayze in the movie Ghost.
Example: Ron told his girlfriend he loved her, only to be ghosted by her response of “Ditto”.
A couple of months ago, I decided to reach out to Chipotle to see if I could get one of the famed Black Cards. The Black Card is a card that gives you free Chipotle every day for an undisclosed time period. Some sources have indicated the card was only good for a year, others have said it was good for lifetime. I’ve never been able to confirm this because I don’t know anyone who has ever gotten one.
Chipotle has been known to give these out to athletes and celebrities in hopes that they would promote them for free on their social media networks. It’s actually a clever marketing concept but it bugs me that they only appear to do it for athletes and celebrities. Like they need any more free handouts. I mean, look at the Oscars, this year they gave out gift bags filled with $100,000 worth of stuff. This is nearly 2x the median household income in the United States. In 2016, each bag was reportedly valued at $230,000. Top.
Back to the story.
I had my eyes set on Chipotle because it’s delicious and I could eat it every day. Also because it’s one of the healthiest “fast food” chain options out there. Don’t come at me with your norovirus arguments. They make real food with real ingredients unlike McDonald’s. They even have keto bowls now for the ketophiles.
Since my eyes were set on Chipotle I had to figure out how to approach them. First, I reached out via an email submission form which got routed to one of their help desk people who forwarded it on (sent it to the trash) to the correct team who would review it. Obviously that didn’t work. I never heard back from them.
The next idea was to do some sleuthing to figure out if I could find out who their social media manager was. Brian Lichtor helped me with this. He searched around the interwebs and found a press release from Chipotle which showed an employee’s email at the bottom. We weren’t concerned with whose name was at the bottom of the press release but rather the format of the email. Typically these large companies use the same email format for all of their employees. For example, it would be something like Last Name + First Name Initial [at] Chipotle [dot] com. Now that we knew the email format, we searched on LinkedIn to find Chipotle’s social media manager. Target acquired.
I sent a long email to this person describing why I was the perfect fit for marketing Chipotle to my Twitter followers. I put together a quick table that showed all of my Twitter engagement from 2018 and a couple tweets from 2019. In ten tweets where I mentioned Chipotle, I had more than 700,000 impressions and more than 14,000 total engagements. That’s a lot. At least I thought so.
I sent the email off. Waited a week. No response. Waited another week. No response. Then I went onto Twitter to find the person I emailed. I tweeted at them letting them know I sent them an email a couple of weeks ago. They tweeted back saying they would look into it.
Another day or two goes by and someone else on their team reached out and said they would love to hear some of my ideas. Again, I put together a detailed email with why I was the perfect fit. I had some really great ideas too. I was planning on giving away Chipotle gift cards when the Dow was down 300 points. I was even willing to do a 30 day challenge where I had to eat Chipotle every meal for 30 straight days. Bullish.
So I sent the email off. Waited a week. No response. I followed up with a phone call and left a voicemail. Then followed up with an email. No response.
Another week goes by and I call again. This time they pick up on the first ring. I wasn’t ready for them to answer. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: Hey, this is uhh Ramp Capital. I sent you an email two weeks ago. I was wondering if you had a chance to review my proposal and get your thoughts.
Chipotle: Ummm…<silence>…what was your name again?
Me: <quivering voice> umm Ramp Capital.
Chipotle: Ok, can I check my email and get back with you?
Chipotle: Ok. Bye. <click>
Awkward. As soon as I hung up the phone I knew the deal was toast. It felt like getting dumped by your crush. At that point I wasn’t even expecting an email or call back.
To my surprise, a few hours later they emailed me back saying “while we cannot proceed with the ideas below at the moment, we’d love to send you a couple burrito bucks.”
Burrito bucks. Sad.
To be fair, they did send me two burrito bucks cards with a handwritten note. And I did get double meat and guac both times (retail value $15 each).
So, if you were wondering why I’ve been sorrowful lately and not talking about Chipotle that much, now you know why.
Let me be clear: This isn’t a sob story and I’m not trying to burn any bridges. Chipotle doesn’t owe me anything, but I did think there was a natural fit and a bigger deal would have been beneficial to both parties. It would have been helpful if I could have talked with someone who actually made the executive decisions instead of getting automatically written off like the Z-list Twitter celebrity that I am.
I did learn a couple of lessons from this experience:
There is entirely way too much red tape to cut through if you want to get involved with bigger companies. You’re better off to look for smaller firms to work with.
Have inside connections.
If I have to explain who I am, they don’t care.
Qdoba, if you are reading this, hit me up.
This could have been us Chipotle, but you ghosted me.