Chipotle is known for its burritos, but few know that Chipotle has radically changed fast food: from cooking fresh food daily, to building a supply chain of 7,000+ farmers, to sourcing more local produce and sustainably raised meat than anyone, anywhere. All while becoming the most profitable restaurant concepts of our time.
Chipotle asked us to find a way to tell this story and to inspire a broad audience to care about their food. Believing that the more people know Chipotle is a business doing good, the more likely they will become passionate and loyal customers. So we created the platform 'Cultivate' to celebrate the people changing food culture and invite customers to join that journey. And launched it with an animated short film on the state of the food industry called, 'Back To The Start'.
Back To The Start depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the error of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. The soundtrack of the short film is Coldplay's haunting classic 'The Scientist' as performed by country music legend Willie Nelson. Coldplay's 'The Scientist' artfully describes the farmer's realisation of his errors - 'questions of science and progress don't speak as loud as my heart'. There was 1 choice in selecting a performer for the song, music legend and co-founder of Farm Aid, Willie Nelson. The film asked fans to download The Scientist on iTunes, with their own money, to raise funds for the Cultivate Foundation and FarmAid. Along side the film, we distributed the song on radio stations across America to add to people's awareness of the song and film.
Distributed using a digital-first strategy, the film first launched on YouTube with no paid media support. The launch was supported with an earned media plan and the social media assets of Chipotle, Willie Nelson and Coldplay to a collective audience of 21m Facebook fans. Next, the campaign added paid digital while shifting to the big screen with Back To The Start spending 8 weeks running on 10,000+ theatrical screens across the nation. Finally, the campaign took Chipotle into TV advertising. Back To The Start ran in its entirety, during the 54th Annual Grammy Awards to an audience of over 40m viewers.
Back To The Start ingnited a conversation in pop-culture. In only 9 days, the film had 5,071 relevant mentions across blogs, Twitter, news, forums, Facebook and earned 11,024,870 impressions via Twitter alone. With each stage awareness and engagement grew as fans viewed and shared the film, making Chipotle the 'no.4 Most Buzzed about Ad Online' and 'no.1 for Positive Brand Sentiment' according to NYTimes/Zeta. To date, the film has been view over 6m times on YouTube and earned 300MM+ media impressions. Finally, the Grammy's catapulted The Scientist to no.1 on the Country iTunes chart.