If people keep asking you to define “sponsored content”, then we have just the URL for you—today our sister site FishbowlNY reported that Chipotle has teamed with The Huffington Post to sponsor an entire page called “Food for Thought.”
We have surprisingly positive feelings about the project so far. One might be forgiven for confusing it with HuffPo’s usual food page at first glance, but it’s more than a series of paid ads despite the fact that Arianna can’t seem to stop praising the chain and CMO Mark Crumpacker’s first post is all about how Chipotle is absolutely nothing like McDonald’s and hasn’t been associated with McDonald’s for several years, so stop bringing it up!!
For those who don’t care for paid media, the top of every post clearly bears the “in partnership with Chipotle” tag, whether it’s pushing Meatless Mondays, explaining why organic food is totally worth the markup or advising President Obama to spend more time gardening and less time playing golf. Many of the bloggers also happen to be established food writers and/or executives who don’t have to worry too much about not getting paid for their work.
So far, it looks like the page consists of solid, clearly marked material written by credible voices. Since Chipotle’s new brand strategy is all about starting “conversations” and producing high-budget cartoons about sustainability, we feel like this is a pretty good example of a sponsored content project. But please feel free to disagree.