Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.: Strategy with a Higher Mission Or Farmed and Dangerous?
“Boycott Chipotle: My Farm is Not Dangerous” one blogger’s headline read (Schmidt 2014). Another headline stated “Chipotle Unnecessarily Tears Down Agriculture to Build a Brand” and the article went on to ask “what kind of values would inspire a corporation to wage a smear campaign against America’s farmers?” (Sheely, 2014). But was that what Chipotle had intended to do? The agricultural industry was responding to the “Farmed and Dangerous” webisode series developed, with Chipotle’s backing, upon the heels of the brand’s successful short films “Back to the Start” and “Scarecrow”. The latter, a somewhat darker animated video, was a major piece of an integrated promotion that also included an iPhone/iPad video app and game. Both short films were entertaining, yet educational, videos introducing the concept of the dangers of industrial farming versus the benefits of naturally raised produce and meats on smaller family farms. Both ended with the message “Cultivate a Better World” and did not fully introduce the Chipotle brand until the last seconds of the videos.