Chipotle is Going Back to the Start: Marketing with IntegrityBy Natasha Montoya
In a day and age where fast food is made up of ingredients many of us are oblivious to, it is refreshing to see a company stand out from the rest and base their entire marketing mantra on a concept unfamiliar to many people in this fast paced, “I want it now” society we live in. The idea of “Going Back to the Start” is the face of Chipotle’s new viral marketing campaign aimed at informing consumers that there is such a thing as “food with integrity,” which is simply natural, family-grown or raised, and ultimately socially responsible.
An article by the Chicago Tribune discusses Chipotle’s recently released video featuring Willie Nelson’s rendition of Coldplay’s popular song, “The Scientist,” which depicts a small town farmer shifting away from his traditional farming roots and adopting an industrialized and unnatural method of cultivating his livestock. Eventually, the farmer realizes his original way of farming was far superior and decides to do the environmentally responsibly thing and “go back to the start.” Chipotle does an excellent job in getting people to think about the serious issue, while promoting its brand in the meantime.
The advertisement, which is intended to create somewhat of an emotional reaction to people viewing the harmful effects that industrialized farming brings with it, creates a sense of sadness and empathy for the farmer. It really gets people thinking about the differences between Chipotle as a fast food chain, as opposed to say, your typical McDonalds ad.
Sustainable farming, which Chipotle bases their entire positioning off of, “uses techniques such as crop rotation, soil conservation, natural fertilization and polyculture planting. In livestock production, they use pasture-based systems, feed animals what their bodies are designed to digest, and treat their animals humanely. Sustainable farms produce foods that are tastier and more nutritious than foods produced on factory farms, while also preserving the long-term health of our environment.”
Simply said, this is responsibility at its finest, despite the negative stereotypes that many fast food restaurants must battle. Chipotle seizes that opportunity in the marketplace to finally provide a fast food experience that defies the typical processed and unnatural methods of creating food and opts for an experience that provides healthy, fresh, locally grown, and socially responsible options. By raising awareness about what responsible farming is, they are fostering a need for healthy and naturally raised food that many people were unaware they had.
As many people are trying to do their part in going green and helping the environment in any little way, Chipotle has made the responsible choice. The powerful “Going Back to the Start” video sets the agenda that people should be concerned about where their food comes from originally. But, while many people may view this as just a healthy food option, when going to the roots of what Chipotle is really doing, they are keeping small family farmers in business and helping the economy along the way.
Many people may think, however, why haven’t I seen these advertisements? Chipotle is again set apart from the rest, they choose not to engage in heavy television or radio advertising, but instead to stick to simple movie-theater ad placements, word of mouth, and public event sponsoring to raise awareness of their brand’s positioning as an environmentally responsible company. These ads create a positive impact on those who view them, while informing and motivating consumers to learn more. Chipotle also discusses their farming methods and responsibility in using sustainable farming techniques all over their website in order to raise awareness about the importance of such a trend.
This popular concept of going-green, being environmentally responsible, and incorporating organically grown food helps Chipotle to solidify their standing as a company that truly cares about the implications of their actions. Their growing popularity and extreme success in the business world teaches other companies in the fast food industry that caring about the long-term effects of your business’ actions will carry with it many positive benefits.
In the case of Chipotle, this is truly marketing with integrity.
I’m Natasha! I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in Advertising from Southern Methodist University’s Temerlin Advertising Institute. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Marketing from CBU in southern California and see myself eventually moving back to California to pursue my goal of working at a full-service advertising agency.