QDOBA Queso // #TheirWordsNotOurs

Case Study

  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Food and Beverage
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Social Media Content
  • user generated content

For more than a decade, Qdoba single-handedly owned the queso space without any major challengers. That changed when their biggest competitor, Chipotle, launched a new queso of its own, turning the entire world of melted cheese dip upside down. The much-smaller Qdoba faced a challenge: how was it going to compete against Chipotle’s massive advertising budget?

By turning that challenge into an opportunity.

Despite Chipotle's tortillian-dollar marketing campaign, the Internet’s reaction to their new queso was surprisingly not fantástico. Using social listening tools to pick up on the negative commentary, Mistress realized that if it moved quickly to take ownership of the queso chatter, Qdoba could gain the upper hand both on Twitter and offline.

Using these insights, #TheirWordsNotOurs was born—a new kind of trolling campaign where consumers' opinions about the competition were used as a foil to demonstrate the positive sentiment around our own brand. Using crowdsourced tweets, The Many brought its favorite queso-related content to life in a targeted social GIF campaign, one which also included redemption codes for free queso.

By tapping into these organic conversations, The Many was able to use real-time data to help communicate Qdoba’s brand messaging, while also activating the Twitter community to stir engagement. The power of paid media targeting was leveraged to further amplify the campaign and reach a larger audience.

In total, #TheirWordsNotOurs garnered more than 13.4 million Twitter impressions, 3.5 million media views, and more than 90,000 engagements within the first 24 hours. Not only did the campaign elicit a massively positive reaction, it also surprised and delighted unsuspecting Chipotle queso haters with 3,000 witty custom tweets and a free cup of Qdoba queso.

Qdoba saw an immediate impact in sales when fans visited restaurants with the coupons, posting pictures to social media.

Not only did Qdoba use “trollvertising” to rightfully own the queso conversation in social, the campaign provided the opportunity to deliver a positive queso message, build consumer sentiment, and win market share.