Chipotle's Farmed & Dangerous Series Blurs the Lines

One of my favorite companies in the restaurant space is hands-down Chipotle.  When I started Pizza Fusion seven years ago, Chipotle acted as our unknowing mentor for being as socially awesome as possible.  From their core values as a company to the sourcing of humanely treated meat & poultry, they just "get it".

As a student of branding and marketing, Superbowl Sunday is also the Superbowl of the ad world. Advertisers will deploy talking babies & animals to A-list celebrity endorsers, anything to reach the 100 million Americans expected to be watching.  But Chipotle is playing a different advertising game this Sunday. Building on their unconventional marketing tactics, Chipotle will release “Farmed and Dangerous,” a four-part comedy series on the TV-streaming service Hulu that takes a (very) satirical look at industrial farming. You’ll have to look hard to find Chipotle’s connection to the series. There are no scenes at Chipotle restaurants or impromptu testimonials to its tacos or quesadillas. (It is no accident, though, that the show’s young hero is named Chip.) Rather, “Farmed and Dangerous,” billed as a “Chipotle original series,” hopes to promote the company’s concerns about sustainable agriculture and the humane treatment of animals used for meat. This stealth marketing strategy, Chipotle executives say, is not about “product integration,” but “values integration.”

“ ‘Farmed and Dangerous’ is meant to strike large emotional chords — it’s not about selling burritos,” said Daniel Rosenberg, a former Hollywood executive whose New York-based company, Piro, produced the series with Chipotle.

The company hopes that preaching the gospel of sustainable agriculture will translate into consumers buying their fast food at Chipotle, whose slogan is “Food With Integrity.” It promises, wherever possible, to use produce grown organically, dairy products from cows that were not treated with synthetic hormones and meats from animals raised humanely and free of antibiotics.

To say that I'm "looking forward" to seeing this is a rather large understatement.  I think that they picked an audience filled with people that could care less where their food comes from, but I also think that's their point in choosing the Super Bowl. Hopefully it turns some heads!