The story behind Chipotle’s Pixar-style ad ‘The Scarecrow’

Chipotle's The Scarecrow
Chipotle’s Pixar-style short film “The Scarecrow.”
Via Metro World News

In the short film “The Scarecrow,” the titular character lives in a world where most of the food is genetically modified. Refusing to continue the cycle of animal abuse, he decides to show his fellow residents that they don’t need to continue to eat unnatural food.

The last scenes of the video remind viewers that they can download a game which allows the player to help the hero reach his objective. Then, in a surprising twist, the clip reveals that the whole project is really an ad for food retailer Chipotle.

Directors Brandon Oldenburg and Limbert Fabian of Moonbot Studios were approached by the agency CAA to develop the project after they released “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” another project the combines traditional animation and an interactive game.

“I think there is a trend which is exciting,” Oldenburg explained to Metro World News. “Advertising isn’t necessarily showing you what it is selling. It’s now engaging with the appropriate audience in an effective way.”

Chipotle told them they wanted to start in a conversation about food, farming and where products came from. The two said they never forced them to find a way to encourage viewers to buy more burritos.

“They were more focused on what was the best story to tell, instead of ‘Hey we have to make sure this is a great viral campaign. We have to hit these targets,’” Fabian added.

After given three prospective scripts, the team decided to combine elements to create a whimsical story about a worker scarecrow being pestered by an evil crow. The scarecrow not only made sense from an agricultural standpoint, but it added a sense of nostalgia for old cinema, which the two men shared.

They tried multiple songs as the soundtrack before settling on “Pure Imagination,” which was performed by Fiona Apple. The song starts slow and almost grim, but picks up the pace and becomes more enthusiastic when the scarecrow decides to make a stand.

“For us as animators, we want to tell a story without words, (and) lyrics become the script for the film,” Oldenburg explained. “That was the missing piece for a long time.”

Both Oldenburg and Fabian hope that more companies decide to give art-based interactive videos and apps a try as a way to appeal to their customers. They say it’s an exciting new experimental field, and it may be a way to connect on an emotional level with customers instead of just shoveling products at them.

But, if learning an educational message isn’t enough to encourage for most viewers to watch the video and play the game, companies can always offer the traditional incentives.

“Try the game. It doesn’t take that long until you get that coupon for that buy one get one free burrito,” Oldenburg said jokingly.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…