Where this year's Super Bowl lacked in issue-focused ads, a spot from Chipotle made up for it just a week later at the GRAMMY Awards. The two-minute ad, originally released online and in movie theatres, featured a Willie Nelson cover of a Coldplay song, and although it aired during a commercial break, it left many saying it was the best musical performance of the evening.
Twitter feeds were buzzing with praise for the spot, with fans exclaiming, "Best #Grammy performance? That incredible @Chipotle commercial featuring Willie Nelson covering @Coldplay's The Scientist. Wow." And while some of the acclaim had to do with the musical appeal of course, it is hard to deny that the commercial was compelling in its own right. Nelson's moving rendition of "The Scientist" provides poignant narration to a simply animated story of a farmer who moves toward industrial food production, but seeing the changes in his own world, returns back to smaller-scale, more sustainable farming techniques. We've said this before on WDYSF, and we'll say it again— despite the proliferation of communication channels for cause marketers, there is sometimes none more powerful than a simple video to leave an audience touched, informed and empowered. When a company has the means to bring the message to a mass audience through a pop culture event like the GRAMMY's, it's even better. And fortunately, it's more than just a well-crafted video— Chipotle also has the creds to back it up. Through its longstanding commitment to "Food with Integrity," a 10-plus year journey for the company, Chipotle has continued to increase its purchase of naturally raised meat and ingredients sourced from family farms. However, Chipotle also acknowledges that it's far from perfect. In a recent New York Times article, Johnny Kelly, a director for the film project, described how the animated short actually resembled Chipotle's own evolution from its factory farm suppliers of years ago.
Chipotle's primetime spot may have sparked conversations about an important issue, but it's more than just a powerful commercial. For every 99-cent download of Willie Nelson's "The Scientist" cover, 60 cents will be donated to Chipotle's Cultivate Foundation to create a more sustainable and equitable food future. Perhaps that deserves an award.
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