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Want to promote yourself on Twitter? Get hacked! (or at least pretend to)

Chipotle joins the list of brands who hacked their own Twitter accounts in order to get more followers.

Everyone wants to gawk at car wrecks, and now you can use that to your advantage by purposely making it look like your Twitter account has been hacked.

For a few hours yesterday, the fast-food chain Chipotle pretended their account had been taken over by an avocado-obsessed insane person. Here’s a few samples of the tweets:

Not surprisingly, when news of the hilarious so-called hacking spread, people rushed to follow the account, until Chipotle announced that it had basically punked its audience in order to generate some buzz for its brand.

Looks like it worked, Chipotle claims it added nearly 4000 new followers in one day, compared to its usual average of 250 a day.

Isn’t that a tad bit too cynical? 

Mashable reported the whole thing was an elaborate ruse to celebrate Chipotle’s 20th anniversary, which features a 20-day long treasure hunt called “Adventurito,”and includes 20 days of puzzles. The tweets were apparently clues to a puzzle on how Chipotle makes its guacamole. Here’s what they told Mashable:

“We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that,” a representative told Mashable. “It was definitely thought out: We didn’t want it to be harmful or hateful or controversial.” 

Turns out they’re not the only brands who’ve used the self-hack strategy. Both MTV and BET pulled the same stunt earlier this year, but those were more tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at the very real hacks that occurred at Burger King and Jeep.

This could easily become a case of “the boy who cried wolf,” there’s only so much people like getting pranked, and they have an especially low tolerance for brands trying to be too clever. For now, Chipotle seems content with just the one time, but it’ll be interesting to see how many more companies follow suit. 




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