A new Chipotle ad, "The Scarecrow," has gotten some buzz recently. It's also brought about some interesting conversations in the comments sections of YouTube and articles discussing the 3-minute mini movie. Watch it below and then read on.
Really, watch it. No skipping!
I don't think there is any question that the ad is eerie. However, the message, the messenger, the intent, and the over-all impact have become big points for discussion.
- Does this ad give the impression that Chipotle is vegetarian? If so, is this a cop-out on their part? Should they have included images of sustainable, humane meat production? This didn't even occur to me until I saw some comments from people who were not familiar with Chipotle. They said the ad gave them the impression that it was a vegetarian establishment. While I do see their point, I don't think the intention was to gloss over the fact that Chipotle uses meat. Their position has never been that meat is bad, just that there are better ways to raise meat animals. Also, you can purchase a vegetarian meal at Chipotle and you get free guac. :) Lastly, Chipotle put another moving ad out 2 years ago that does depict sustainable animal agriculture.
- Why is this an ad for a game app? Does it cheapen the message? I wasn't quite sure why there was a game associated with this advertisement. It just didn't really make sense to me. To get more info, I watched the behind the scenes video for the ad. According to the makers, the intent of the game is to provide a fun and engaging way to educate people about the food system. I did my research for you guys and downloaded and played the game (ya know, hard hitting investigation) and it was pretty good. I don't know that I'll play it all the time or anything, but it was cute. It doesn't delve too deep into the issues, but it might be educational for someone who is younger or has no knowledge of these issues.
- Should it take a glossy ad from a company like Chipotle to bring this message to the greater public's attention? While it sometimes seems unfair that marketing plays such a big role in our decision making, the truth is, it does. Just because an idea is important doesn't mean that it will necessarily reach the public or attract attention. At the same time, an idea that is unhelpful or even damaging can get the spotlight and support with a little glitter and glam. Rather than fight marketing's power, I think it's right to embrace it. Plus, a company like Chipotle has an audience that is ready to listen to what they have to say. Chipotle shows that sustainble ag can taste great, be accessible to the masses, and, most importantly, that lots of people are willing to pay for it. While they aren't perfect (hint: no one is), they are transparent concerning their areas for improvement and vocal about the changes they are constantly trying to make.
- Does this ad have any lasting impact? Is Chipotle using it's visibility to start a real conversation about the broken food system or do people simply watch it, think "that's awful," and then run through the drive-thru on their way home from work? As far as this is concerned, I have no idea. The video has over 5 million views at the time of this post (6 days after it was released), so it is obviously reaching lots of people. Many of my Facebook friends have shared, commented, and liked the video. But, does that translate to action? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
I don't know if there is a "right" answer to each of these questions, but they sure are thought provoking. I'd love to hear what y'all think.
What are your thoughts on the issues surrounding "The Scarecrow?" Share in the comments below!