When Chipotle dropped its first viral animated ad in 2011, I immediately downloaded the song, Willie Nelson’s cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” because I am loyal to Willie above all burrito brands. The message: The importance of source, where your food comes from, and the enduring cuteness of animated chickens. This was at the height of Chipotle mania, when every cubicle captive and college student was waiting in line for guac on the side. Then came “The Scarecrow” in 2013. Same message, but creepier: Fiona Apple subbed in for Willie and the chickens were getting injected with scary chemicals!
And this week, the company released another, in the barely-dust-settled aftermath of a year in the public’s eye for all the wrong reasons: E. Coli outbreak. Things aren’t as rosy anymore, and neither is the marketing. In the video, “A Love Story,” kids at two rival stands, lemonade versus orange, grow up, see their companies evolve into chemical-laden fast food evil monsters. It’s sort of like a Pixar episode of Black Mirror.
Oh, and the soundtrack is a cover of the BACKSTREET BOYS middle school dance hit “I Want It That Way,” by none other than cool band of the era Alabama Shakes. If this isn’t targeted at millennials, then cancel my subscription to Nickelodeon magazine, take the No Doubt posters off my bedroom wall, and pry this Ecto Cooler from my cold, dead hands.
It’s not a tear-jerker, either, with the underlying whisper of expert advertising executives masterfully crafting a rebranding for the E.Coli-scandalized brand running throughout the 4-minute movie.
See for yourself: