Late last week I found the below ads from Chipotle for the first time. The first long-form advertisement (2011) and The Scarecrow short promo film for the new game under it are jaw droppingly effective.
Back to the Start: http://youtu.be/aMfSGt6rHos
The Scarecrow: http://youtu.be/lUtnas5ScSE
I am in awe of this Chipotle Mexican Grill internet marketing campaign, which really began with the Back to the Start video in 2011. Although the Scarecrow character from the newest arm of the campaign (and his iOS game) is visually different from the original animated short, he is the direct thematic descendant of it.
The obvious notes to on this campaign are about animation, industrialized food and the importance of disciplined focus when attempting to make a point with marketing.
Only the last point is worth a few words before I dig deeper, as plenty has been said about the other two points.
First, Fiona Apple’s beautiful cover of “Pure Imagination” does more for the Scarecrow mini film than I can put into words. The most important ingredient to storytelling is emotion, and Apple’s goosebump-inspiring song sets the tone and the mood.
Second, I watch a lot of ads. You do to. Honestly, the art of a really well-made advertisement using moving pictures is in trouble. Television ads are terrible. Today, long, internet-only advertisements are becoming the new normal. But you cannot just make a long, pretty looking ad and hope it works. Just like 30, 60 and 90 second spots are their own art forms, difficult to get right and make important, two to four minute films meant to promote products and companies on the internet require skill and focus.
Another conversation is about television. How long do we have until the majority of new companies turn to the internet instead of television? The best ads are already on the internet, where people have to get more creative to rise above all of the yelling. Chipotle went all-in. They did not just produce a video guaranteed to put a lump in your throat and guilt in your stomach, they made a game to go with it. The game and the video together will be more engaging, more impactful and more valuable than 1,000 television ads.
But I think the real conversation about this approach from Chipotle is about the difference between great storytelling about the truth and great storytelling using embellishments.
I do not know anything about Chipotle Mexican Grill except that I have eaten their burritos a few times did not understand the hype. I do not know if they get 100% of their ingredients from the “good guys.” I do not know if the “bad guys” really do all of that bad stuff. To put it bluntly, I do not know whether they are lying or not.
I know what the campaign made me feel and think (making me feel or think anything is a feat in itself).
This campaign makes me want to go there and see what I missed.
This campaign brings to mind some of the best dystopian Science Fiction novels and films – gorgeous, maddening, frightening and inspiring.
This campaign made me want to tell everyone I know about it and read more Michael Pollan books.
This campaign makes me want to chuck everything in my fridge and change how I eat.
Chipotle used Fiona apple, beautiful design and a little Scarecrow to make me want to change my life.
But ultimately the success of this campaign will be measured not on the strength of the idea or effectiveness of the execution (A triple-plus), but on whether or not Chipotle can put fresh, farm-grown food where its mouth is.
Clips from Chipotle Grill’s Scarecrow app
Scarecrow Farms: http://youtu.be/YloVK3BXfi0
Downtown Plenty: http://youtu.be/c5cQ8sO1iQs
Crow Foods Factory: http://youtu.be/CbDRiwbC75s