Chipotle Mexican Grill’s (NYSE: CMG) animated short film “Back to the Start” will air in full as a commercial during the GRAMMY Awards Sunday, February 12, 2012 on CBS. This is the first time Chipotle will run a national television advertisement since the burrito chain’s inception in 1993. The two-minute film became a YouTube hit when it was released late in 2011, and has appeared in movie theaters nationwide before feature films.
Chipotle will air its "Back to the Start" animated short film during Sunday's broadcast of the GRAMMY Awards on CBS. (Photo: Business Wire)
The film — a first for Chipotle — will be the longest commercial to run during the GRAMMY Awards in recent history and is the first time Chipotle has aired an ad on national television. Directed by London-based Johnny Kelly, the stop motion animated film depicts a farmer whose family farm has slowly evolved into a factory. In a moment of self-reflection, the farmer realizes that he must go “back to the start” and transition away from factory conditions and towards more sustainable farming methods.
The film is set to a soundtrack that features a cover of Coldplay’s GRAMMY Award-nominated song “The Scientist” (nominated for Best Music Video, Short Form in 2004) sung by 10-time GRAMMY Award-winner Willie Nelson.
“We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “We have always understood the importance of serving food that is raised right, but that is a difficult thing to communicate with the limitations of traditional advertising. ‘Back to the Start’ tells the story of a farmer’s journey from traditional farming to an industrial food production model, then back to his roots of traditional farming again – a story that tracks closely with some of our suppliers and that demonstrates why we think it is so important to serve food made with ingredients from more sustainable sources.”
Since it was released in August, the film has received considerable acclaim. To date, it has been viewed nearly 4.5 million times on YouTube, and was eighth most shared ad on YouTube in September shortly after its release. “Back to the Start” was named by AdWeek as one of the 10 Best Commercials of 2011, and it was listed by Zeta Interactive as one of the Top 10 Ads to generate online buzz in 2011, one of only two ads to make that list without debuting during the Super Bowl.
In addition to its online run, “Back to the Start” has appeared on more than 10,000 movie theater screens nationwide since the fall of 2011.
“This film was a natural to run during the GRAMMY Awards because of the show’s celebration of musical excellence,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer of Chipotle. “Willie Nelson’s cover of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ manages to convey the importance of sustainable farming methods in a beautiful, subtle way. We have always respected Willie and Coldplay and the incredible work they do as artists and activists, and we are honored to have collaborated with both GRAMMY Award winners on this project.”
Willie Nelson’s cover of “The Scientist” is available for purchase on iTunes, with proceeds ($.60 per download) benefitting the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which provides funding to support sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. A similarly focused people culture, with an emphasis on identifying and empowering top performing employees, enables us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates more than 1,225 restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50164405&lang=en
Chris Arnold, 303-222-5912
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