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'Hacking' of Chipotle Twitter account revealed as publicity stunt

July 29, 2013 at 9:00 PM   |   Comments

DENVER, July 29 (UPI) -- Tweets giving the appearance the Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain's Twitter account was hacked was really a publicity stunt, the Denver company admits.

The company has acknowledged a series of confusing and seemingly random tweets over the course of an hour were part of a publicity undertaking tied to its 20th anniversary promotional campaign.

"We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people's attention and make them talk, and it did that," Chris Arnold, a Chipotle representative, told Mashable in an interview. "It was definitely thought out: We didn't want it to be harmful or hateful or controversial."

Chipotle, celebrating its 20th anniversary with a 20-day long treasure hunt puzzle called "Adventurito," said most of the tweets posted were fragments about ingredients, intended to tie into Sunday's puzzle about the ingredients Chipotle uses to make guacamole, Arnold said.

"We had clues pop up in a lot of places and thought that incorporating something into our social media presence would fit well into that promotion," he said.

Chipotle's Twitter account added more than 4,000 followers the day of the "hack," compared with its normal rate of adding about 250 followers a day.

It's unlikely Chipotle would try a similar strategy again any time soon, Arnold said.

"It's certainly not a well you can go to often," he said.

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