Chipotle’s animated Scarecrow campaign has created quite the media buzz. The campaign engages consumers in a critical dialogue about the problems created by factory farming. We watch the film’s lead, an animated scarecrow, leaving his day job at a mass food factory where conditions are poor, food is processed, and flavours dull, to cook a delicious meal at home from his colourful, abundant vegetable patch in order to entice city dwellers away from their processed food. The message: Chipotle favours small scale food production, and so should you.
This video has been praised for its innovative marketing through its clear anti factory farming message. But critics have questioned the transparency of Chipotle’s campaign, since it attacks big corporations mass producing food, while still belonging to this group – a hypocrisy that may well hinder the brand’s message more than aid it. Amongst the cynics is website Funny or Die, which has made a parody video implying that that Chipotle is manipulating consumers –as a mass corporation serving fast food which is the antithesis of the overt ethical message in the original version.
Aside from the controversy it’s created, the campaign is interesting in its clear change in tone, coming across notably more melancholy than Chipotle’s last video.
It makes us wonder if there is a greater shift in culture towards guilt as a driver for changing consumer habits?