Cash 4 Spam

Spam is completely useless, right? Wrong. Now, you can turn your junk emails into cash.

Last week, Chipotle launched its “No Junk” campaign where for every 100,000 spam emails forwarded to nojunk@chipotlejunk.com, the burrito giant would donate $10,000 to The Lunch Box, a non-profit dedicated to providing nutritious cafeteria food for kids.

This is a smart campaign for a few reasons:

1) Chipotle is adding value to a seemingly useless annoyance: spam emails. I know I reach for the delete button as soon as I see “Lower Your Interest Rate,” “Loose 50 Pounds in 10 Days,” or “Direct to Home Online Pharmacy.” Now I’ll consider hitting the forward button.

2) Chipotle is linking its brand to a relevant charity. When I think back to my cafeteria days of cheese fries, greasy pizza and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, it makes me sad. Jamie Oliver said it right on ABC’s Food Revolution: “We’ve brainwashed our kids so brilliantly so even though they know something is disgusting and gross, they’ll still eat it if it’s in that friendly little shape.” It’s nice to know organizations like The Lunch Box are making positive changes in our schools.

And, most importantly, 3) Chipotle is reinforcing its core brand message of promoting “Food with Integrity.” While at first I found it hard to believe that any eight-pound, brick-sized burrito wrapped in tin foil could be healthy, I’ve been swayed. Chipotle’s ingredients are fresh, simple and delicious. Thanks to New York’s law of showing caloric value in chain restaurants, I’m convinced that you can eat healthy there (although I’m still not sold on the Chipotle diet a la Jared from Subway).

And, now I’m hungry. . .

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