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Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” campaign is unique and effective


In the new Chipotle commercial called, “The Scarecrow,” which is a three-minute animated story, we see the inside of a fast-food factory where the unhealthy ways of processing food occurs. If you haven’t seen it, now is your time. In 2012, Chipotle had a similar campaign video called “Back To The Start,” which aired during The Grammy Awards on television. This time around, Chipotle only posted “The Scarecrow” on YouTube. As a generation, it’s our time to see the difference one person can do for the world. In the advertisement, we see this come true. One “person” changes the world of processed foods into something more natural and healthy. There is no mention of Chipotle in the advertisement until the very end where the logo comes up, and that’s it. There is no mention of what the actual aim is. There is just a story which starts out sad but ends well, I promise. The advertisement itself isn’t selling an item or a service, because it’s selling an idea that both scares and motivates us as consumers of fast-food.

The animated advertisement starts with a depressed scarecrow character. He is going to work in this creepy factory called “Crow Foods Incorporated.” This place represents the repulsing ways of the fast-food industry, almost like the disgusting ways of a crow that picks at the garbage for food. We are taken into the factory through the sad eyes of the scarecrow. There we see fast-paced conveyor belts moving boxes of processed “100% Beef-ish.” I thought this was a clever way to catch our attention. It made me think right away about how we can’t necessarily trust processed foods to be 100 percent anything these days. According to a 2011 Fox News article, Taco Bell’s beef, for example, had only about 35 percent real beef. If it wasn’t for the people who spoke up in protest, we might still be eating this! What other foods are not real? And right there is when I figured out the point of the advertisement.

The way I see it, the only way out of this cycle is to break the bond between consumers and fast-food chains. Instead, we need more Chipotles and Panera Breads that use natural foods and veggies instead of processed ones that are extremely dangerous and unhealthy for us. Taking us back to the advertisement, Chipotle’s big idea of using all-natural foods is being portrayed in a very creative way, to say the least.

The scarecrow shows us a chicken being injected with steroids, cows in locked boxes and then finally he goes back to his humble house on a farm, outside of the city. The scarecrow represents Chipotle and their idea that foods need to be prepared naturally. He notices a beautifully natural chili growing, which happens to be Chipotle’s symbol (a chili), and in that moment we see the scarecrow’s first smile, along with a positive pep to the music. With this, the scarecrow goes back into town where he starts his rebellion against “Crow Foods Incorporated,” or the fast-food places.

Above the window of the scarecrow’s new stand in town, there is a sign that says “Cultivate A Better World.” This phrase was also used in the previous year’s video “Back To The Start.” The sign really jumps out at you in both videos and it helps to imprint into your mind that it only takes one person to cause change. I noticed right away that the first person to walk over to the new stand is a younger person, probably representing our generation. The advertisement ends with the Chipotle logo and a preview of the downloadable game to your phone or tablet. This addictive game, that I just had to have, has proven to be nothing but an extension of the advertisement, where there is no mention of Chipotle except in logo-form.

In my eyes, this advertisement is trying to sell the idea that fast-food places process their food in a worse way than Chipotle and they should change to follow Chipotle’s lead. Because the advertisement itself is an animated story about a scarecrow who comes up with a better way to prepare foods, we, as consumers, do not consider this advertisement to be annoying or too obvious in trying to sell us a product. At the end, there is an addictive game that you can download on your phone or tablet and it just has to do with the story-line, not Chipotle. I believe this is the best way that sellers can advertise their items and message at the same time to consumers. I know that as soon as I saw this advertisement, I downloaded the game and became more motivated to spread the word via this article.  

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Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” campaign is unique and effective