Marketing with a conscience

donna_scarecrowThey may pull at your heartstrings or inspire you to action. Cause marketing attempts to do just that while at the same time inspire loyalty to their brand.

Companies like Chipotle have tapped the popularity of short films to bring their message to the masses about their Food with Integrity mission. In their thought-provoking short film, The Scarecrow (2013) and its companion game, they depict a world where crows use scarecrows to perpetuate the facade that food is produced in the most healthy ways possible. As the film continues, you see the scarecrow becomes disillusioned by the fact that the food is mass produced, compromised by chemicals and cows and chickens are raised in inhumane living conditions. Pretty heavy duty messaging for a brand that wants you to not only frequent their restaurants, but also to join their cause.

In taking a serious jab at industrial farming, Chipotle runs the risk of their concept backfiring. Take a look “The Scarecrow.” To date, it’s been viewed nearly 13 million times and has been shared over 33,500 times on YouTube since its release on September 11, 2013. And with its over 2 million Facebook fans, Chipotle appears still to have a loyal following.

How does it make you feel about how the food you eat is produced? For those of us living in farming communities, it’s hard to accept that our friends down the road are employing such tactics to get their products to market. After viewing the film do you feel that Chipotle is promoting too general of a depiction of the food industry?





  1. I researched this campaign, and the first thing to come up in my search results was an article by Alexandria Bruell that highlighted that the Entertainment group Creative Artists Agency won the PR Grand Priz for the “The Scarecrow!”

    This is a prime example of Integrated Marketing at it’s best (in my opinion). That is, according to the article, the campaign launched first on YouTube with no paid media for the four weeks. It was then followed by a placement in a national newspaper and a social and PR push, as well as the launch of an interactive game and a mobile coupon designed to drive consumers to Chipotle restaurants.

    Renee Wilson, PR jury president for Cannes Lions and chief client officer at Publicis Groupe’s MSLGroup explained that the campaign won because, “It was the storytelling. The work was stellar. It was designed to really engage consumers in an emotional way on the Chipotle journey to creating a sustainable future.”

    This is a video that tells a simple story, but has no actors, no animals, and even the brand name only makes an appearance during the final seconds of the ad. The company has spent zero funds on advertising the commercial on television (which is usually a popular platform to use for a big campaign). However, as mentioned in our lesson, “The most effective videos and short films are based around a story that dictates the willingness of others to share and to engage with longer content. Typically, the most viral content involves something ‘cool,’ a funny parody or a celebrity.” My favorite aspect of this campaign is that it benefits a cause, more than the brand. This approach separates the company from the clutter of their competitor’s ads, and proves that the brand values and wants to influence mainstream food production methods and eating habits – which matches their vision and message.

    Bruell, A. (2014, June 16). CAA wins PR grand prix for Chipotle’s ‘the scarecrow” Retrieved June 20, 2014 from:

  2. For many people today, well‐being extends beyond the health care industry. Social responsibility has become all but a requirement for companies and cause-related marketing has grown into a popular strategic marketing and public relations tool for corporations and charities alike. Studies show that consumers are increasingly social conscious and are looking to support companies that share in the goal of building a better world and the sustainable market is expected to grow to $922 billion by 2014. Consumers are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the products they buy and they not only want to purchase products that make an impact, but they also want companies to educate them on how to do that. I think that Chipotle is smart for moving their brand in the direction of sustainability – it will benefit them in the long run.

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