Capitalism, love, tacos those are the major themes of Chipotle’s first major commercial releasesince containing a devastating series of outbreaks earlier this year.
You’d never know it from watching the ad. The four-minute animated short only mentions the company’s name once in the opening title and its only other tie to the chain comes in the appearance of some tacos and a heaping pile of guacamole near the end of the video.
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The ad follows two young lemonade stand proprietors stuck in a fierce cross-street marketing battle (that’s actually a strange form of flirting). The rivalry only heats up as the humble cardboard stands grow into big industrial plants and their owners into young adults.
But when things get out of hand, the two moguls join forces on an organic taco stand.
“A Love Story” isn’t Chipotle’s first foray into longer, more thoughtful advertising. In September 2013, the company rolled out “The Scarecrow” to plenty of plaudits.
Trigger warning: Backstreet Boys song.
The touching video is characteristic of Chipotle’s marketing department, which has always prided itself on unconventional advertising with subtle branding and quality production value. Well-received past efforts have had a similar whimsical feel.
“If we can create entertainment without a ton of branding, and we can integrate our values into it rather than making it about Chipotle, we believe people will…pay attention to it more,” saidMark Shambura, Chipotle’s director of brand marketing.
The difference now is that the burrito chain is still repairing its image after a series of outbreaks in its stores sickened dozens, cratered its stock price and left a lingering sour taste in the mouths of consumers.
When Chipotle first announced that it would run an advertising blitz in response earlier this year, it prompted national headlines about the company “begging you to come back.”
But the new ad is more of an attempt to steer focus back to the company’s fresh-ingredient roots than a mea culpa.
“We certainly have some trust to regain, but we haven’t chosen to focus on any of that in the film,” Shambura said. “It’s more about re-inspiring our customers.”
Like past Chipotle campaigns, the video will have relatively few paid placements in movie theaters and online distribution will instead depend on viewers sharing amongst each other and press attention.
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