Chipotle’s Willie Nelson Commercial
Coldplay and country are musical genre opposites. Then again, farm fresh products and fast food aren’t exactly analogous either. But Chipotle managed to combine all three with the TV debut of “Back to the Start,” a two-minute video depicting the farm-animal-to-food process with Willie Nelson’s southwestern pipes covering Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” The ad is the company’s first national television commercial.
From the positive social media buzz, the spot appeared to be a hit–so much so that many fans and bloggers dubbed it the “best performance of the Grammys” and insisted that it outshone the real band’s performance at the award show.
“It was not a tough act to follow: A too-long Coldplay performance that made all but the band’s biggest fans yawn. But Coldplay’s Grammy performance was quickly followed up by a better one — a Coldplay song, “The Scientist,” covered by Willie Nelson, in a commercial for Chipotle,” Maura Judkis quips in her opening line for the Washington Post’s entertainment blog.
Tweets from surprised happy viewers included:
- “Coldplay-based Chipotle commercial > actual Coldplay performance. #Grammys.” — @poniewozik
- “@WilsonTech1 The Chipotle commercial is single-handedly the best part of the#Grammys so far.”
- “@JayDeMarcus This Chipotle commercial is way weird. Wow.”
The ad is part of Chipotle’s “Food With Integrity” movement. The fast food chain prides itself on being the first fast food chain to emphasize serving natural, farm-raised animals that haven’t been pumped up with hormones or brought up on “factory farms,” where they often are confined to small cages.
“[Food With Integrity] is our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect to the animals, the environment, and the farmers,” Chipotle’s website states.
Though the ad premiered on TV Sunday, it first appeared on the company’s website in August and won the number two spot on AdWeek’s “10 Best Commercials of 2011.” After its televised airing, Chipotle encouraged customers to download the Nelson cover on iTunes. Proceeds from the downloads go to Chipotle’s Cultivate Foundation, which helps to fund sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education.
“Back to the Start” isn’t the first of Chipotle’s socially conscious music video covers. The company partnered once again with CAA to create a more somber short called “Abandoned,” in October. The video depicts a boy’s discovery of the plight of farmers in an increasingly industrialized America to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O. covering, ironically, Willie Nelson’s “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Both flicks are worth a watch, though admittedly the clay-figured piggies in the Coldplay cover are a bit less depressing. Either way, it’s nice to know that one can use the “it’s for a good cause” excuse the next time they decide to snarf down one of those extra large burritos that come in the gold foil.
Watch “Back to the Start”