Chipotle, Part I

chipotle.pngWhen it comes to Chipotle, I am a fan. Not because I necessarily need to eat a 1,000 calorie burrito, but because the company makes me want to. Chipotle’s fast-casual concept lures me in by offering a high quality product at a good value in locations that are easy for me to access. Product, price and place were the initial impetuses for my visits, but this Chipotle has made me a loyal follower because of their brand.

The Chipotle brand is synonymous with farming sustainability, environmental friendliness and the humane treatment of animals. Because I value these business practices, their message has always resonated with me. The company has maintained their commitment to their core values despite the expense associated with doing so. They recently became the first national restaurant to eliminate GMOs from their menu and later this year they will roll out their new preservative-free tortilla. While Chipotle seems genuinely committed to “Food with Integrity”, the company’s mantra, it certainly doesn’t hurt their bottom line to share their passion via promotion. This is, in fact, the heart of their marketing strategy- tell the story of the evolution of big agriculture while connecting with consumers over the need for good food harvested with care for the environment.

Chipotle has professionals on hand to help share that story. Chipotle hired Piro, a New York based firm that creates entertainment to be used as advertising, to shoot a season (four half-hour episodes) of “Farmed and Dangerous”, a comedy that sheds light in a satirical way on the inhumane treatment of animals to satisfy consumer consumption. Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing and development officer at Chipotle, states,

Much of our marketing is aimed at making consumers more curious about where their food comes from and how it is prepared. By making complex issues about food production more understandable – even entertaining – we are reaching people who have not typically been tuned into these types of issues.” (“Chipotle Mexican grill,” 2014).

CAA Marketing of LA, at the behest of Chipotle, created animated content for two videos posted on You Tube in 2011 and 2013. In one video, a farmer reevaluates his factory-style operation and reverts back to a more natural way of farming. It is not until the end that the viewer sees that he is rewarded by a Chipotle van purchasing his “food with integrity”. Chipotle describes the plot of its second video, “A lone scarecrow sets out to provide an alternative to the unsustainable processed food from the factory” (“The Scarecrow,” 2015). Titled “Back to the Start” and “Scarecrow”, these animations were aimed at sharing Chipotle’s “poignant message with a lighthearted tone” and created a “shared-values platform”(“Top Ad Campaigns,” 2015).

“Back to the Start”



“The Scarecrow”

The consumer is not likely to see Chipotle roll out a mass media advertising campaign using a celebrity eating a burrito or a seductress ordering a taco. It is just not their brand. Jack Hartung, the chain’s chief financial officer has long “eschewed jazzy advertising” (Jennings, 2014). That is concordant with my values, which is why I continue to eat my (farm- fresh and environmentally friendly) 1,000 calorie burrito.


Chipotle mexican grill; chipotle to launch “farmed and dangerous”. (2014). Marketing Weekly News, 36. Retrieved from

Jennings, L. (2014). Traffic success stories: Chipotle. Nation’s Restaurant News. Retrieved from

The Scarecrow. (2015). Retrieved from

TOP AD CAMPAIGNS OF THE 21st CENTURY. (2015). Advertising Age, 86(1), 21. Retrieved from

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