Chipotle Mexican Grill has had better days in the press as of late.
However, in terms of creative marketing campaigns in the recent past, I believe The Scarecrow is exceptional.
Watch the following video, which begins the Scarecrow's story.
Chipotle's The Scarecrow provided an entertaining, vivid and well-told story that created...
When The Scarecrow video begins there's a bit of mystery about what you're watching. It provokes curiosity, which sucks you in. You keep watching to find out where this thing is going.
Another draw is that the animation is visually appealing and much of the same quality you might find in a any current day digitally animated commercial feature film. The visuals are enhanced by Fiona Apple's rendition of the song "Pure Imagination."
As the initial Scarecrow story plays out you begin to discover the protagonist's dissatisfaction with the factory-like, and seemingly inhumane , production of food. This is the genius of the campaign -- the story plays off of the existing debate in the food industry, and of the knowledgeable food consuming public, of where and how food is sourced for restaurants and eventual public consumption.
The story itself is a social commentary about what goes on with the food production of Chipotle's competition, but it is careful to simply suggest this in a subtle yet powerfully distinctive way. It's the stance the Scarecrow eventually takes (representing Chipotle's stance) in the video that provides Chipotle's brand differentiation from their competition (or the status quo). Without saying a word, at the end of The Scarecrow, Chipotle has communicated their 'Food with Integrity' brand message eloquently.
While the video created useful virility, the campaign's integration into mobile gaming gave it legs. The online/mobile Scarecrow game provided additional brand engagement in a fun and entertaining way. This kept their target audience's attention (primarily Millennials) while Chipotle continued to deliver their 'Food with Integrity' brand message.
This was relevant and praised by Chipotle's loyal customers and supporters, but also provided a vehicle to introduce ethical questions to the general fast food consumer. If the effort wasn't enough to convert those who otherwise may not think about where/how their food is sourced, it certainly got them thinking about it.
Posted by: Nick Venturella