Do you remember the 2011 advertisement released from Chipotle restaurants? The one with Willy Nelson singing about progress and science and where Chipotle urged us to go Back to the Start. I wrote a few comments about the controversial campaign on this blog. The company has had a building campaign based on concepts like Food with Integrity and asking us to Cultivate a Better World. As Daren Williams pointed out, Chipotle’s marketing campaigns don’t come with much integrity.
This time, they’re at it again. Chipotle released a video yesterday featuring a Scarecrow working for Crow Foods which represents Big Food in this country. The 3 minute video relies heavily on the depiction that modern food production is an industrial factory process. There are cows and chickens in confinement, being pumped with what is assumed to be antibiotics and hormones. Things which Chipotle denounces in food production.
I’m not linking to the video.
The Center for Consumer Freedom posted some good comments on the video that I wanted to share:
Back to the meat of the matter (forgive the pun). Chipotle takes issue with modern livestock farms and the use of antibiotics, hormones and animal housing. Relying on a cartoon underscores, however, that this is a marketing strategy, not a means to present a realistic picture of agriculture. Take the use of antibiotics. Chipotle says it won’t buy from farms that use antibiotics to raise chicken. So what’s a farmer to do if one of his birds gets sick? Perhaps it’s an apt time to point out that Chipotle notes in an annual report, “Herd losses can also be greater when animals are not treated with antibiotics and hormones.”
In fact, while Chipotle brands its fare “food with integrity,” that label seems to come with some fine print. Chipotle on the one hand bashes farms that use antibiotics, yet, on the other, is all too happy to sell meat that was raised with the use of antibiotics if there’s a supply shortage.
There’s a larger agriculture narrative developed by city-dwellers over the years who have ideological problems with modern food technology and production. Chipotle is taking advantage of it as much as possible to make money. It’s important to remember that, as one in the ag community puts it, marketing is not reality. There are plenty of videos—not cartoons—that show modern farms in a straightforward manner (that is, without the horror-movie soundtrack and editing of an animal-rights video).
Consumer Freedom also points out that Chipotle’s tortillas and chips come from the rather large Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods, Inc. Not quite what their marketing depicts. Read more thoughts on their website.
This is a well-made animated short-film. Props to the marketing folks who created it. But the message is not realistic nor does it paint an accurate image of modern agriculture.
Chipotle’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Crumpacker, says that the restaurant chain hopes to encourage consumers to learn more about where our food comes from and learn about the differences of processed and real foods.
Mr. Crumpacker, if you really wanted to share how our food is grown, there is plenty of real footage from real farms across the country available online. Plenty of farmers have many videos on their YouTube Pages (which I have a list of on this blog), and continually share their real stories via blogs (which I also have a list of on this blog). No animation needed.
- Panera Bread Company’s #EZChicken not liked by farmers (DairyCarrie)
- Chipotle targets Big Food, skips big branding (usatoday.com)
- Chipotle ‘Scarecrow’ Ad Will Make You Feel All The Feelings (Huffington Post)
- Taking Down Big Food Is The Name Of Chipotle’s New Game (NPR)