The video shown above is a parody of Chipotle’s ad for their new “Scarecrow” game. When I watched the original ad for the popular Mexican chain restaurant (featured at the end of the post) for the first time, I have to admit it hit me in the chest, for a moment… and then I shook my head and said, “What bull.”
This is why: The video begins with a Scarecrow, a cog in the corporate farming machine, going to work. During his day he catches sight of a chicken being injected with chemicals, and a group of sad cows trapped in small metal boxes being milked. This all seems to, justifiably, depress him so he goes home after work, apparently wondering how this world of industrial animal use came to be… until he sees a beautiful red pepper (Chipotle’s logo).
He then decides to do something about corporate animal farming and is shown picking beautiful vegetables and transporting heaps of them into the city, where he cooks them up offering an alternative to the food next door, being pumped out of the factory he used to work for.
If I understand the message of this ad, the Scarecrow’s solution to factory farms is to grow, eat and serve delicious veggies to the public. Great message, right?
Noticeably absent from the Scarecrow’s “solution scenes” are meat,* eggs or dairy products. And that’s my problem with this ad: The message they are attempting to capitalize on is a plant-based one (vegan), but Chipotle is far from a vegan restaurant chain.
*Although some people say there might be a chicken in the kitchen scene, I can’t spot it. If there is one, he doesn’t touch or cut it up during the scene.
Salon’s David Sirota comments:
“So did Chipotle mean its ad to be such an explicitly pro-vegetarian [vegan] message, only to see that message ignored by media outlets and much of its audience? Or did company executives design the ad with a two-pronged calculation? Were they calculating that: 1) the controversial and explicit vegetarian message would be ignored, but 2) that the audience would nonetheless implicitly ascribe the kill-free merits of vegetarianism to the burrito vendor’s products? Put another way, in a self-serving bit of trickery, were they actually trying to subtly conflate opposition to factory farming with full-on opposition to eating meat, even though those two things are fundamentally different?”