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Chipotle’s Emotional Advertising Continues with ‘The Scarecrow’


I definitely more likely to seek a Chipotle more than any other fast food chain in NYC and they continue to fascinate with their advertising strategy. Their last animated short film called ‘Back to the Start‘ featured Willie Nelson singing Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and was an unexpected and haunting statement on our industrial food creation process.

Chipotle has just released the next in what now appears to be a series of these video called ‘The Scarecrow’. This animated short has Pixar quality 3D animation of a scarecrow who is a factory worked at a large food plant.  The story is set to a haunting version of features “Pure Imagination,” originally from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” sung by Fiona Apple. The production quality of this video is exceptional but the messaging and imagery is definitely much more heavy-handed than their previous installment. You can watch the video above to see for yourself what I am talking about.

Last week was insanely hectic for me so I saw a few headlines that they had released a new video but didn’t actually have time to read about what they had created so I came into this experience with no preconceived notions of what I was about to experience. Because of that I was really surprised when the video ended with an ad for a new mobile game, titled The Scarecrow, for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The game is a pseudo continuation of the story as you control the Scarecrow main character through a series of levels where you tilt the iPad to control him. The game is moderately fun and here again you will see a high production value.

As much as I love their videos I am really conflicted about the addition of the iOS game to this latest installment. The marketer in me understands that they want to find a way to extend the experience and the brand impression beyond just the video no matter how powerful it is. But the creative, the foodie and the consumer in me just didn’t like the way they  executed that intent. In the video they are talking about the commercialization of an industry and how price, convenience and packaging will make people mindlessly consume that product. But when they ended the video with an ad for a game that uses price (free), connivence (free entertainment) and packaging (great game design) it made experience go from anthemic and inspiring to feeling cheap, manipulated and even hypocritical. In the end I wish I didn’t feel this way I about so much good work since when viewed independently they are exceptional but I just can’t overcome the bad after taste you get from  combining them.

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