Chipotle is at it again.
The company’s latest animated short film made its way around the Internet last week, earning praises from advertising critics and consumers, while angering those within the agricultural industry. According to Chipotle, the film and its coordinating game are “designed to help educate people about the world of industrial food production that supplies much of what they eat.”
To the ag community, however, the film does nothing but further mislead consumers.
“This is a well-made animated short film. Props to the marketing folks who created it. But the message is not realistic nor does it paint an accurate image of modern agriculture,” rancher and “agvocate” Ryan Goodman wrote in a blog post.
Goodman isn’t alone. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) was one of the first to call Chipotle out on the video.
“There’s a larger agriculture narrative developed by city-dwellers over the years who have ideological problems with modern food technology and production,” CCF said. “Chipotle is taking advantage of it as much as possible to make money. It’s important to remember that, as one in the ag community puts it, marketing is not reality. There are plenty of videos—not cartoons—that show modern farms in a straightforward manner (that is, without the horror-movie soundtrack and editing of an animal-rights video).”
Other agriculturists and ag supporters have taken to Chipotle’s Facebook page to air their distaste for the ad, including:
“Sad that Chipotle is scamming all of you into believing their food is better for you. I am cool with companies labling products GMO-free, or organic... and I am cool with people choosing to buy those products and I think they should be available... but Chipotle's depiction of the treatment of farm animals is totally FALSE. Yes, there are some bad farmers out there. but there are also bad pet owners as well... I cant stand it to see dogs chained to a house, but my dairy cows all had a name and free pasture to roam and they were LOVED. 98% of the US population is totally removed from agriculture and it is so sad to see Chipotle jumping on a crazy media bandwagon misinforming people to sell their burritos.”
“I don't see the point of this ad. It turns me off on the Chipotle brand. The depiction of the food industry is so out of line with reality. Having a game that youth will play associated with it is even more deplorable. There are all ready too many misinformed consumers this will not help. It is pretty bad when you have to cut down an industry with lies to sell your product. Chipotle bashes “big,” yet the gazillions of tortillas that the company goes through aren’t exactly made in some Mexican grandmother’s kitchen. In the Pacific Northwest, Chipotle sources chips and tortillas from Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods, Inc., a company that brags on its website that it has “grown from a small company into a state-of-the-art processing plant.” In fact, judging from the pictures, Chipotle is sourcing food from a veritable “industrial tortilla factory.” i won't be eating at Chipotle any more.”
“Shame on chipotle! Learn what real agriculture is about!!!!!!! Your images are full of lies and misconception! What a shameful way to exploit others to magnify your profits. As an American farmer father of 4, your lies are what's going to push out country into starvation one day. But you won't care for a while.....until you run out of money that you unrightfully earned! God bless Americans! Especially those sacrificing everything so that ALL people may be fed 3 times a day”
“You're simply propagating GMO hysteria. Farmers are losing money because of people who believe these silly commercials as truth. This commercial doesn't represent where food comes from any more than a shoe box represents where shoes are made. I suggest re-thinking your ad strategy. Unless pandering to the uneducated is one of your goals.”
“I don't want to wade into the farm vs farm debate but I am going to say that I do not give my support to people and corporations that deal in negative advertising. I'm not sure why you decided to accentuate the negative when you seem so positive about what you are doing. Why not just stick to showing off your farmers and your "integrity" and let the good you are doing speak for itself? There is too much negativity and strife in our society today. Too bad you decided to add to it. I'm out!”
“I'm with you. I will not spend a single dollar at Chipotle Mexican Grill. In fact, I'm hoping the Agriculture Industry/Non-Profits sue them for false marketing and advertising. This is just plain unacceptable. And I don't even farm!”
Earlier this year, Panera Bread earned similar criticism in a campaign that referred to farmers who use antibiotics to treat their animals as “lazy.” One blogger named Dairy Carrie led the charge against the campaign, uniting the industry and even prompted the company’s chief marketing officer to call Carrie directly to discuss the campaign.
The company quickly – and quietly – removed its “Easy Chicken” digital and social media campaign following the outrage, and the company has said it does not plan to bring the campaign back.