Holmes Report 03 Mar 2016 // 8:21PM GMT
DENVER—Chipotle Mexican Grill has brought on Burson-Marsteller as its US PR agency of record after parting ways with longtime agency Edelman.
It is understood Burson was selected following a three-month review, prevailing over Ogilvy PR in the final round of the pitch. The firm has been tasked with supporting Chipotle as it looks to rebound from its food safety crisis, primarily through influencer relations.
The assignment is understood to cover consumer and corporate PR, including media relations, public affairs and executive positioning. Social media is not included, after Chipotle recently hired Carrot Creative as its first social media agency of record.
After last year's E.coli outbreak across several restaurants affected nearly 500 customers, causing sales to decline and outlets to close, Chipotle is showing signs of a slow rebound. In addition to the E.coli outbreak, Chipotle's issues management are also likely to involve the company's visible stance on food issues, such as its decision to go GMO-free.
The Holmes Report revealed Chipotle was parting ways with Edelman in January after Edelman took on a "sizeable piece of business...that presented a conflict," Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold said in the earlier story. Last year, Edelman began working on Taco Bell in conjunction with sister agency Zeno.
Arnold confirmed the decision to hire Burson, but did not respond to request for further comment.
The seven-year Chipotle/Edelman relationship, which came to a close at the end of 2015, yielded the Cannes Lions PR Grand Prix in 2014, for the 'Scarecrow' campaign in conjunction with CAA.