To get across its message about the importance of sustainable farming and foods produced more naturally, Chipotle has adopted a marketing plan that spans a range of media. Two artfully animated spots feature characters who reject a factory model of food production by embracing farm-fresh vegetables and meats. Only at the very end of each spot does the name Chipotle even appear. The focus is more on the message than on the brand, which may be why consumers are so willing to interact with and share that message.
The spots both feature music by popular musicians, namely, Fiona Apple and Willie Nelson (covering a Coldplay track). The animation is sophisticated and of high quality. And in each case, the protagonist—a farmer or a scarecrow—rejects a model in which pigs, cows, and chickens are artificially fattened by chemicals and kept in cages, in preference for a free range approach.
At the end of each spot, a screen appears that encourages viewers to go further. They can download the recorded song from iTunes, access a related game through the Apple App Store, and share the videos with others through YouTube.
Of course, they can also consider a visit to their local Chipotle. The spots imply that unlike the rest of the food producers portrayed in the dystopian cartoons, Chipotle embraces and sells the fresh vegetables and humanely raised meat in the food it provides. Of all the options available, Chipotle thus appears to represent the healthier, more utopian ideal.
Source: Stuart Elliot, “Chipotle Returns to Animation to Support Sustainable Farming,” The New York Times, September 16, 2013