×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chipotle Gets into Branded Entertainment Game with Animated Short, App

Project that puts a target on processed food follows Chipotle's award-winning "Back to the Start" campaign, developed with CAA Marketing

Chipotle has stepped up its efforts to entertain customers while promoting its mission to serve sustainably raised food.

The Mexican eatery released “The Scarecrow,” on Thursday, as an animated short film and free app-based mobile game for Apple devices that encourages consumers not to eat processed food and follows a scarecrow’s search for healthier options.



Chipotle has long stressed that it supports local family farmers and the use of meat from animals raised without antibiotics or injected with hormones.

What’s unique about “The Scarecrow,” however, is that the animated short is not heavily branded by Chipotle.

The brand’s logo is only briefly mentioned at the end of the short and at the start of the game.

But that’s not to say Chipotle is shying away from taking credit for producing the short — it’s the first thing you see when visiting the company’s website, for example.

The effectively alternative approach to branded entertainment was produced by Moonbot Studios, behind the Oscar-winning “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” in 2011 (see the short below).

“The Scarecrow” is only the first of new pieces of entertainment that Chipotle will roll out next year further attacking Big Food.

While Chipotle developed and produced “The Scarecrow” with CAA Marketing, it plans to produce “Farmed and Dangerous” on its own as four dark comedies that it will release on online platforms that promote better eating, especially among younger Millennials.

“We’re trying to educate people about where their food comes from,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer at Chipotle.

And going after younger consumers is why the content isn’t as branded as one might expect.

Millennials tend to steer away from brands that promote themselves too heavily, marketers have found. But they’ve also learned that Millennials are attracted to those brands with a specific voice. In Chipotle’s case, it’s a campaign against the evils of Big Food.

And that’s helped “The Scarecrow” certainly stand out from the crowd.

The animated short is a dark and haunting three-minute piece that Tim Burton would certainly appreciate, that features chickens being injected, sad cows stuck in crates, and evil red-eyed robotic crows running an industrial food factory known as Crow Foods that pumps out food labelled as “100% beef-ish.” Fiona Apple’s moody cover of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’s” “Pure Imagination” plays over the action.

The song can be purchased on iTunes for 99 cents, with proceeds benefitting the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a non-profit.

Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” short is a follow up to its 2012 Cannes Grand Prix winner “Back to the Start,” another animated look at the eatery’s approach to locally sourced products that fill its tacos and burritos — that was watched by over 7.5 million people online.

As for the game, which features the crows as villains, Chipotle will give away up to 1 million buy-one-get-one free offers to consumers who play it.

More Biz

  • Alan Horn Bill Tanner

    Alan Horn to Keynote Variety Business Managers Elite Breakfast, Bill Tanner to Be Honored

    Bill Tanner will be recognized with Variety’s 2019 Business Managers Elite Award at the annual Business Managers Elite Breakfast presented by City National Bank, which takes place in Beverly Hills on Nov. 13. Co-chairman and chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn will be the keynote speaker in conversation with Variety editor-in-chief, [...]

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

  • Ron Meyer

    Ron Meyer Files $10 Million Suit Over Forged Rothko

    NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer has filed a $10 million suit against two art dealers, claiming they sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting in 2001. Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on 'Recovered' Memories at Rape Trial

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges. The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 [...]

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content