How the ‘Corn Kid’ helped Chipotle create its top Instagram and TikTok video of all time

The chain went beyond just creating a meme about corn like other brands.

Brands can't get enough of the 'Corn Kid.'

NEWPORT BEACH, CA: Did you know the “Corn Kid” — real name Tariq — is also a major Chipotle fan?

The Mexican fast-food chain became the first brand to officially partner with Tariq after discovering he visits his local Chipotle in Queens, New York, once a week.

Tariq has taken the internet by storm after he appeared in a Recess Therapy video, which has gone viral on Instagram and TikTok, declaring his love for corn. 

“Ever since I was told that corn was real, it tasted good. But when I tried it with butter, everything changed. I love corn,” Tariq told interviewer Julian Shapiro-Barnum.

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A post shared by Recess Therapy (@recess_therapy)

The interview was also turned into a viral song produced by TikTok user @schmoyoho. 

Candice Beck, Chipotle’s director of social, influencer and Web3, said that her team saw the video circulating early last week. Many social media users were tagging Chipotle and saying the brand should work with the Corn Kid, Beck said.

“We saw [other] brands and creators hopping on the real time opportunity,” said Beck. “Brands were trying to find ways to insert themselves into the conversation and create content around it.”

Yet Beck said that Chipotle didn’t want to simply take the “low-hanging fruit” by creating a meme quickly in reaction to Tariq’s video. The brand wanted to go the extra mile to ensure its content was strategic and authentic.

Chipotle reached out to Tariq and his mother to have a conversation and was able to connect with them through Cameo, which facilitated a partnership less than 24 hours after his video went viral. Fans can connect with Tariq on Cameo for personalized video messages.

That’s how Chipotle’ team was able to find out that Tariq is a legit fan of the chain’s food. His go-to order, according to Beck, is a bowl with white rice, pinto beans, chicken, roasted chili corn salsa, sour cream and lettuce.

Within 17 hours of talking to Tariq, Chipotle got him to his local restaurant to create a sponsored video. In the comedic video, which Chipotle posted to Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook, a worker is asking him what ingredients he wants in his bowl. Of course he says “no” to everything except corn.

“It is our highest performing Instagram post of all time; our top-liked and shared video,” said Beck. 

The video racked up 13.2 million views on Instagram and more than 800,000 shares. It is also Chipotle’s top organic TikTok video of all time, with 21.4 million views and 3.8 million likes. 

“Chipotle always aspires to work with true fans of the brand,” said Beck. “This was such a great representation of when we see something happening in culture and the way we are part of it in a way that is natural and genuine and authentic to Chipotle.”

BCW and Day One Agency are working on the campaign. 

Since the original Corn Kid video was posted on August 19, there have been more than 600,000 global tweets about corn on Twitter, an 11% increase compared to the previous 11 days, a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. 

While other brands have not partnered with Tariq, many have jumped on the Corn Kid conversation on social media.

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