Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

‘The Scarecrow’ ad: An epic, cynical story?

Posted on | September 16, 2013 | 4 Comments

Gawker calls it “amazing.” Others call it haunting. It’s the Chipotle ‘Scarecrow’ ad (4.5 million people have viewed it and searches for “The Scarecrow” are trending big time). Take a listen and then read on:

‘The Scarecrow’ is beautifully done, a little long, but compelling. But what strikes me is the underlying cynicism of a national and wildly growing food chain trying to capture the moral high ground on “fresh” food. It becomes harder the bigger you get. But that’s just me.

So what do you think? (Especially, Lou Hoffman, who writes early and often on storytelling, and my friend John Walsh, who is another eloquent ad man and writer). Does this strain Chipotle’s credibility? (Note that this Chipotle local-farming landing page apparently hasn’t been updated in three years).



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4 Responses to “‘The Scarecrow’ ad: An epic, cynical story?”

  1. Lou Hoffman
    September 21st, 2013 @ 11:59 am


    Moving our 140-character bursts of discussion to the comments section–

    I liked the storytelling and the classic arc in the video. Striving for the moral high ground didn’t bother me.

    As shared earlier, I just felt the story needed some bounce in its step towards the end. Left me with a dark vibe in contrast to the feel-good story from the True Move video.

    Still, I think Chipotle deserves credit for taking one of its thought leadership platforms, sustainability, and building a narrative directly associated with the topic.

  2. Brian
    September 23rd, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    Lou good point: I’m probably putting the cart before the horse on Chipotle. I mean, could you imagine someone in our industry doing something that creative?? Man, it would shake the ground.

  3. Joe Hupcey III
    October 1st, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    I agree with Lou – the end needed more “bounce”. Could be a simple as 3 second long scene of people switching en mass to the fresh food guys shop.

    It will be very interesting to see if the companion app gets traction.

    Still, I’ll give them an “A for effort”.

    (And is it just me, or did you get more of a Soylent Green vibe vs. a darker Willy Wonka?)

  4. Joe Hupcey III
    October 1st, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    The more I think of this (and kudos to Chipolte for sticking this in my head), it’s not so much “bounce” as balance is needed. The video spends too much time on the “bad” stuff vs the “good”. 50:50 would have been better. Thus, I amend my grade to “A- for effort”.

    BTW, while it’s not exactly the same thing, EDA used to produce ambitious commercials. Recall this “classical” example from your employer:

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