Case Study: 5 Ways Chipotle Makes a "Coming Soon" Sign Interesting

Chipotle is opening a few new stores in San Francisco. Most businesses during this phase would put up a logo and “coming soon” tagline, and call it a day.

But that’s so standard that people won’t give it a second look. This pre-operating period doesn’t have to be throwaway time – brands should find a way to capture the almost billboard-sized ad space to generate excitement before launch.

Here’s how Chipotle used their characteristically cheeky copywriting style to add some spice while still under construction.

1. Repetition -The four words are stacked on top of each other in a visually balanced way. The text is all the same length, i.e. fairly short, so there’s consistency. It’s not “Enchiladas, tacos, salads, soon,” which would throw off the balance (and confuse people who aren’t as familiar with Mexican food options).

2. Simplicity -The sign has two predominant colors from the Chipotle color scheme. Images would only distract from the message, so there aren’t any pictures and even the company logo is fairly understated. The goal here is to get people to focus on the copy.

3. Rhythm - Burritos is 3 syllables, tacos is 2, salads is 2, soon is 1. This isn’t iambic pentameter or anything (sorry, Shakespeare) but there is a good rhythm that most people take for granted when they read writing that “flows well” and sound seamless.

4. Alliteration - Ending on “salads” and “soon” adds more poetic flair. The similarity in the “s” sounds almost makes you think the last word is going to be a food noun too, but…

5. Surprise - It turns out to be the timing of when Chipotle is due to open. The brilliance in this signage is that the break in flow makes your mind perk up, which increases the chances of remembering the message.

These are just a few techniques to heighten the impact of your copy. You can apply them to all kinds of writing, from fliers to email blasts to websites. If you’re interested in talking more, or find other great examples copy, feel free to send it my way.

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