Chipotle “Ad” isn’t an “Ad”

Everyone is crowing (sorry, bad pun) about the new Chipotle ad.

Except for one thing.

It’s not an ad.

Ads are 30 to 60 second spots that appear on television. Or 10-15 second spots that pop up when you are web browsing. Their purpose – generally – is to sell you something.

The Chipotle “ad” is actually brand content.

It was designed for social and digital media. It was designed to be shared. It was designed to get people – and the media – talking about it. And it has worked remarkable well with the video itself already nearing 5 million views and generating untold amounts of media coverage and shares. This is what happens when you combine digital storytelling with social media distribution.

Because the Chipotle “ad” is a beautiful animated story that goes beyond trying to “sell” product. The story is a call to return to fresh foods and a rejection of corporate food production. It goes way beyond trying to sell product. It’s trying to sell a lifestyle with an emotional call to arms.

Chipotle is using this video as the center of a larger integrated campaign. So along with the video we have:

  • A free game app called “The Scarecrow” which has generated fantastic reviews and is also doubles as an awards program for loyal Chipotle customers
  • A content strategy on Facebook and Twitter
  • Additional videos in the same aesthetic and theme, including one called Back to Start
  • A full integration with their website
  • A PR campaign that generated national coverage in a variety of publications from the New York Times to Treehugger.

I see PR, video storytelling, app development, social and digital media and paid, earned and owned distribution.

What I don’t see is advertising.

What do you think?


Gawker “Chipotle New Ad is Amazing”

New York Times “Chipotle Returns to Animation to Support Sustainable Farming”

USA Today “Chipotle targets Big Food, skips big branding”

5 Responses to “Chipotle “Ad” isn’t an “Ad””

  1. This Ad shows us within different aspect of consumers mind

  2. It does – but it isn’t an ad.

  3. Reblogged this on Bluecubemedia's Blog and commented:
    Ad shown in mind of a creator or rather founder how deep we go for research


  1. How Chipotle is Changing the Digital Marketing Game | TJ Mitchell - September 23, 2013

    […] Chipotle “Ad” isn’t an “Ad” […]

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