Chipotle Continues to Tell its Compelling Brand Story with New Short Film

Chipotle Mexican Grill proves it’s still ahead of the content marketing game with its latest release of the short film, “A Love Story.” The animated film tells the story of two young entrepreneurs as they build competing fast food businesses. It demonstrates “how competition among food businesses can cause them to become something that was not initially intended,” according to a press release.

The fast casual dining king has teamed up with Passion Pictures, an award-winning animation production company to create the latest installment of the Chipotle short films. 

Appealing to a millennial audience, the short is set to a cover of the Backstreet Boys’ 1999 hit song “I Want it That Way,” featuring a duet by the GRAMMY Award winner, Alabama Shakes’ lead singer Brittany Howard and My Morning Jacket front man Jim James.

“We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Mark Shambura, director of brand marketing at Chipotle in a press release. “That starts with using excellent ingredients, and preparing those ingredients using classic cooking techniques. ‘A Love Story’ illustrates how competition propelled these two once-simple concepts to become something neither of their founders envisioned — reliant on limited time offers, vast menus and heavily processed food.”

Chipotle's Previous Native Content

This isn’t the first time the brand has taken to a compelling animated format to tell a unique story. The brand has won numerous awards for its previous short films.

The first short, “Back to the Start” was released in 2011 and it told the story of a farmer who got caught up in large, industrial farming, but decides to return to his roots with small, sustainable farming. This film was set to a Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay’s song “The Scientist.”

Then in 2013, the chain released the beloved animated film, “The Scarecrow,” where a worker in a large agricultural plant leaves after being tired of heavily processed food to farm with more sustainable practices. This animation was set to Fiona Apple’s cover of the song “Pure Imagination.”

In 2014, the brand tried something different when it released the four-episode scripted satire series, “Farmed and Dangerous” about perceptions in the industrial food sector. But, this form of content marketing was not as well-received as the animated films.

The animated shorts are easy for the consumers to digest. They are short, sweet and like all effective native content, they barely reference Chipotle. Each film is geared for all audiences, while being paired with fan-favorite songs.

“Chipotle is very different than traditional fast food restaurants, and our marketing reflects those differences,” said Shambura in a press release. “By telling elements of Chipotle’s story through films that are primarily meant to entertain viewers, we have been able to prompt a number of important conversations about food and issues in food. While we hope consumers find ‘A Love Story’ as entertaining as we do, we also hope it encourages them to think about how food is made.”

Chipotle may still be feeling the impact from its food safety crisis, but it has successfully demonstrated that they are still the brand with arguably the best content marketing out there.