Chipotle Sustainable Farming Video Goes Viral
Chipotle Mexican Grill’s animated film depicting a dystopia, factory-farm-focused future â€” intended to bring attention to its sustainable food sourcing policies â€” has been viewedÂ almost 5 million times on YouTube.
The company launched “The Scarecrow” short film along with an accompanying game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Both the game and the film depict a scarecrowâ€™s journey to bring wholesome food back to the people by providing an alternative to the processed food that dominates his world.
The film is set to a somewhat sinister remake of the song “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 film classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” performed by Grammy Award-winning artist Fiona Apple.
Its not the first animated YouTube video Chipotle has released to promote its green credentials. In 2011, the fast food chain launched “Back to the Start” â€” a film that depicted how farming methods have become further removed from their roots, featuring Willie Nelson’s singing.
In mid-2012, the company announced it was on target toÂ serve more than 10 million pounds of locally grown produce â€“ grown on farms within 350 miles of the restaurants where they will be servedÂ â€“ for a second straight year. That would beÂ an increase from 5 million pounds served in 2010, the company said.
In 2011, the restaurant chainâ€™s local produce haul included 3.6 million pounds of bell peppers, more than 400,000 pounds of jalapenos, 2 million pounds of red onions, 4.7 million pounds of romaine lettuce, and a combined 300,000 pounds of cilantro and oregano. Its California locations also source locally grown tomatoes, lemons and avocados.
Chipotle says that it has steadily increased its locally sourced produce supply since beginning the program in 2008.
In August, the company announced that it had considered â€” and decided against using â€” new protocols that would have seenÂ animals to be treated with antibiotics only when necessary for their continued health. Currently,Â Chipotleâ€™s protocol allows the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals, but those animals must be removed from Chipotleâ€™s supply.
In January, Clorox launched an ad campaign for its Green Works brand with “Desperate Housewives”-inspired digital ads thatÂ poked fun at eco-fanatics and attempted to make “eco-friendly people friendly again.”
According to Green Works brand manager Shekinah Eliassen, the campaign says “green is for everyone,” not just the rich. She says the companyâ€™s cleaning products support this message by being priced comparable to non-premium traditional cleaners and by being sold at mainstream retailers.
Despite these examples, many marketeers routinely ignore sustainability as an advertising angle, according to a recent column in The Guardian byÂ Rainforest Alliance president Tensie Whelan.
Whelan says marketers ignore sustainability at their own peril. A typical argument made by marketing professionals is that surveys show that only around 10 percent to 15 percent of consumers actively seek out sustainable products. Instead, Whelan writes that marketersâ€™ job is to make consumers want a product they think they donâ€™t â€” and sustainability should not be any different.
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