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Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” Ad Stirs Feelings

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Critics are asking if it’s the ‘ad of the year,’ says:

The film is a dystopian fantasy in which a famously antagonistic relationship—that of crow and scarecrow—is turned on its head. Crows are running the show at the Crow Foods factory, which is staffed by scarecrows who’ve lost their jobs at the farm and are forced into supporting the unsustainable processed-food system. The first two-thirds of the film are oppressively bleak, as chickens and cows are pumped full of hormones and our hero scarecrow all but blanches at the horror of it all. In the end, of course, he breaks free and opens his own little restaurant, where he serves—naturally—wholesome-looking handmade burritos. The animation by Moonbot is lovely. (The studio won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2012) And the music—a Fiona Apple cover of the song “Pure Imagination” from 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—is flat-out hypnotic. Together, they produce a deeply evocative atmosphere that connects the viewer emotionally to the story.”

Yet, it has angered some within the agricultural industry. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) was one of the first to call Chipotle out on the video.

There’s a larger agriculture narrative developed by city-dwellers over the years who have ideological problems with modern food technology and production,” CCF said. “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).”

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Others have taken to Chipotle’s Facebook page to air their distaste for the ad:

“You’re simply propagating GMO hysteria. Farmers are losing money because of people who believe these silly commercials as truth. This commercial doesn’t represent where food comes from any more than a shoe box represents where shoes are made. I suggest re-thinking your ad strategy. Unless pandering to the uneducated is one of your goals.”

And oh, yeah… There is an app for that: The downloadable game, for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, will feature the same characters.

Is it very slick marketing or just a bunch of eco-hooey?

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