Chipotle is no stranger to unconventional marketing techniques. In September, America’s fastest growing restaurant chain painted a grim picture of large-scale agriculture with a computer animated short called The Scarecrow.
Ironically, Chipotle is following its video short with something larger scale — a comedy series.
The restaurant chain’s opposition to large-scale meat production is nothing new, but this time the company is doubling-down on its message. Instead of spending millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad, Chipotle is premiering a new show on the Internet video service, Hulu.
The show, Farmed and Dangerous, is a four-episode series about a fictional industrial agriculture company named Animoil Global. The series takes a satirical approach to Animoil Global’s plan to feed cows a petroleum-based pellet. The pellet saves the company money, but, surprisingly, it also causes cows to explode.
As part of its viral marketing campaign, Chipotle has even designed a website for the fictional company, complete with a description of the Petro Pellet, Animoil’s new flagship product.
It’s ridiculous, but that’s the approach Chipotle is taking.
Chipotle’s jump into the entertainment business is reflective of several trends in media, most notably something called native advertising.
In an interview with the New York Times, Bryan Thoesen, a Hulu executive, said the show, “sits between content for entertainment and content for advertising,” something Hulu is calling ‘brand-authored content.’
Daily Finance, a finance blog, called Chipotle’s move “brilliant advertising” and added, “If executed well, Chipotle’s bold bet on a Hulu-based show could pay handsomely for shareholders — and change the world of advertising in the process.”
Chipotle isn’t necessarily trying to change advertising; the company is pressuring the agriculture community.
The company’s opposition to large-scale farming is important to its growth, according to the New York Times.
What the company is hoping for is a viral marketing gold mine, while using comedy to influence the agriculture industry, with a laugh.
It’s a move that is putting many farmers, and agriculture companies, on the defensive — again.
The show premiers Feb. 17 on Hulu.