Chipotle's "The Scarecrow" ad is brilliant critique of Big Ag and factory farms

chipotle scarecrow
Video screen capture Chipotle

Last week, Chipotle released "The Scarecrow", a hauntingly beautiful commercial that works as both a strong critique of corporate greenwashing and factory farming, as well as an inspirational reminder that there is always another, better way to live, work and eat.

The new ad follows a scarecrow as he goes to work at what looks like a bucolic, picturesque farm, but the viewer quickly learns that this is just the "greenwashed" logo of a big, industrial food processor. As the scarecrow works around the facility, he witnesses the cruel treatment suffered by the animals, such as being injected with growth hormones and being held in small cages.

The ad is perfectly scored with Fiona Apple covering "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

With lyrics about "a world of pure imagination" and changing the world, Apple's rendition of the song come across as hopeful and idealistic, but also could be interpreted as highlighting the delusional thinking that exists among consumers about our food system.

In just a few days since it was release, the video has really made an impression:

Bruce Horovitz at USA Today says, "Chipotle is about to turn the ad world on its head."

Peter Weber at The Week says, "it is the most beautiful, haunting infomercial you'll ever see."

Gawker's Neetzan Zimmerman says, "all other ads should just give up."

And these are just a few of the many press mentions the piece has already generated.

This is not the first film of this sort Chipotle has made. Previously, they created a scary, Halloween-inspired ad to highlight the plight of small farmers. And another animated short featuring Willie Nelson covering Coldplay also touched on anti-factory farming themes and the importance of small farms. After that ad ran during the Grammy's, I wrote about what that would mean for small businesses.

For more on The Scarecrow, there is a behind-the-scenes video showing how they made it. It's seriously impressive:


What do you think of the ad and its message? Let us know in the comments.

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