I’ve seen a ton of postcards and Chipotle’s is one of my favorites. After the salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus outbreaks, Chipotle couldn’t rely on its name alone and had to give away millions in free food to lure people back. So, they used postcards. By now, they have perfected the elements of design that make-up their perfect postcard.
Let’s take a look at their design strategy and why we love it at Scout. The numbers 1-7 reference the 7 elements of design in Chipotle’s perfect postcard. The numbers reference the same concept on both back and front.
Let’s break this postcard down and find out just how the marketing wizards at CMG did it.
The 7 elements of design in Chipotle’s postcard:
Why Chipotle’s postcard is great:
- Free, Free, Free, Free. Free. Four times, all in bold. The offer is the message. This is a brilliant marketing tactic, offers are a great way to convince consumers to act and people are often skeptical of free. So Chipotle wanted to make it clear, it’s free.
- Chipotle wanted to save some money here, so they used a mailing technique that sends mail to every person on a specific carrier route or in a zip code. While this can greatly reduce cost, it prevented Chipotle from telling me exactly where my local store was or giving me directions to it.
- This expiration date was about three months after I received the card. It’s always important to put in some incentive to act and an expiration date is a really great way.
- Chipotle is a company with a brand, and they don’t want you to forget it. Logo. Logo. Logo. Oh, and notice the subtle farming elements on the front, they want you to know this food is organic, non-GMO, it was raised by little Timmy, and even the corn was excited to be part of a Chipotle burrito.
- It’s great to give consumers choices on how they want to interact with your company, so Chipotle reminds you on this postcard… go ahead… use your smartphone if you want.
- The Hero Shot is so important to a great postcard. The steak is cooked just to perfection, the color of the bowl matches the design and blends into the colors of the farm, and it’s a fact that in California, guac is a bigger necessity than toothpaste.
- As with any large company, legalese is necessary, but notice how they had fun with it. Go ahead, read it all, I’ll wait. This playfulness even in their legal copy is part of their brand and helps build a rapport with their customers.
Elements of Design: What should you think about?
What kind of offer will you provide? If you can’t provide an offer, think about what other unique elements of design you can include to your target customers that will make them read your postcard.
The key is not to advertise, but to incentivize your prospect to read and act. Chipotle does it with free burritos, how will you do it for your customers? Figure out which elements of design will draw your target audience in.
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