Talkable Brands: Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought

This weekend I went to Chipotles for lunch with my “other”.   It was well past 2pm. We had been out and about and were starving. As we sat down, Steven casually handed me my drink cup. Printed on the side of the cup was a wonderful set of words and the little illustrations in the photo above.

I’ve always believed that reading and writing inspires thinking. The “Cultivating Thought” project from Chipotle really got me thinking.  There are so many opportunities to do more than “market” or “cross sell” to your customers. As marketers, it’s about time we started using our talents to make the world more interesting.  And help engage people, move people and inspire people to THINK.

I know some of the cool kids on twitter and social media are poking fun at it.

I did a little online research when I got home. 

But I happen to believe this project is a brilliant example of creating talk-able moments and telling an interesting story.

On the side of drink cup for goodness sake!

You can read about how it came about here. Well worth a Tuesday morning read.

Here’s the “essay” from my cup:




I am thinking about the fragility of civilization. Look around you, at the building you are in, the road you travel on. What you see was made by people who agreed that they would get up in the morning and go to work and nobody would shoot at them or fire mortars at them; there would not be checkpoints at which they could be taken out and never seen again; that there would be food in the shops, and water in the taps, and shoes to buy and to wear. People who believed that the place you go to sleep tonight will be here tomorrow

I have started to think of humanity as family.

There are now fifty million refugees in the world today, more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. And at some point, for each one of those people, the world shifted. Their world, solid and predictable, erupted or dissolved into chaos or danger or pain. They realized that they had to run.

You have two minutes to pack. You can only take what you can carry easily. You are going to have to walk a long way. You hope that somewhere, someone is going to take you in. I have started to think of humanity as family: a family that quarrels, but which must, when things get hard, put aside old arguments and divisions, and care for each other. Sometimes someone needs somebody to take them in, and that’s the function of family. It’s time to care.

You have two minutes to run. What will you take with you?


I have to say during our entire lunch (which was really quite fresh and good) we talked about something interesting and meaningful. We felt empathy with refugees who have faced those two minutes.

And I have to say, it honestly endeared me to Chipotle in some small way.

So, you have two minutes to run. What will you take with you?

P.S. Geno and I are both braving the ice storm and heading for the Cult Gathering in Banff. Wish us good luck! Right now I am still waiting for my plane to be de-iced. And Geno is going to drive to Atlanta. It’s going to be a long day.



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