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GSD&M - Whole Foods & Chipotle



For this project we were tasked to identify an understanding of food culture and how it relates to both Chipotle and Whole Foods.



Whole Foods is perceived to have high prices and Chipotle is perceived to have multiple food safety issues. Moving forward, we need to determine how both of these brands can return to marketplace prominence and increase brand loyalty.


  • Secondary Research Topics:

    • What the brands are doing now

    • How these brands have responded to their respective reputations or crisis situations

    • Millennials and social media, specifically Snapchat

    • Food culture and how it applies to millennials

    • Millennials and their distrust of brands

  • Primary Research:

    • We conducted a survey to determine how these brands are perceived by millennials, why millennials like or dislike these brands, and how they perceive food culture.

    • Our survey had 70 respondents and 55 of them were millennials.


  • Millennials are not willing to spend money for processed food

  • Their purchase decisions were based on their own schedules and needs

  • They want their food to be fresh, creative and curated to them

  • They demand brand transparency

  • 2 in 5 US millennials do not trust large food manufacturers and prefer to try their food before they make a purchase

  • 74 percent of millennials prefer to eat out more than once a week

  • When hearing about restaurant chains having food safety concerns or issues with their ingredients, 51 percent of millennials avoid the chain until the problem is resolved and 30 percent investigate it for themselves before making any rash decisions

  • 68 percent of millennials ask friends before selecting a restaurant

  • 55 percent of millennials look up food products while in store

  • Millennials rarely make food decisions on their own


Moving forward, Chipotle and Whole Foods need to gain favor with influencers within this generation, so that they can use their current consumers to build and reinforce consumer relationships.

Creative Brief 


Why Are We Advertising?

To build and reinforce trust in consumer relationships with Whole Foods and Chipotle. By increasing their marketplace leadership presence and brand credibility among millennials, Whole Foods and Chipotle can gain loyalty from millennial consumers.


Who Are We Talking To?

We are talking to millennials ages 18-34 who love food culture. They shop at REI, Nike, Apple, Victoria’s Secret and Anthropologie. They watch shows on TV or Netflix such as HGTV and the Food Network, and they are very active on social media channels such as Instagram and Snapchat. They care about social issues, peer-connectedness, are health conscious, and love experiences. While they are educated, they are frustrated that student loan debt is influencing how they live their lives and make purchases. They also enjoy socializing with their friends when they have time.


What Do They Currently Think?

  • They do not trust large food manufacturers

  • Millennials ask friends before selecting a restaurant

  • They eat foods that are certified organic

  • They look up food products while in stores

  • They prefer to spend money on experiences over tangible products

  • They prefer to try their food before they make a purchase

What Would We Like Them To Think?

  • We would like them to think that both of these brands can offer unique experiences

  • That Whole Foods and Chipotle are credible brands

  • That they are marketplace leaders

  • Chipotle and Whole Foods can enhance millennial’s lifestyles


What Is The Single Most Persuasive Idea We Can Convey?

That these brands want to build and reinforce consumer relationships


Why Should They Believe It?

  • Both of these brands are able to offer unique experiences

  • Millennial consumers trust their peers

  • Both brands are willing to meet consumers demands of brand transparency

  • These brands offer healthy lifestyles that suit millennial’s immediacy needs


Are There Any Creative Guidelines?

Advertising should be fun, engaging, an experience and interactive

My Key Contributions: 

  • Team lead on finding secondary research for this project.

  • Determined the foundational insights that lead to our strategy. ​​

  • Coordinated the flow of information between group members to make sure we met deadlines. 

  • Helped write and edit the required paper and creative brief. 

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