Last week, Chipotle was the topic of much conversation with its haunting "Scarecrow" ad and interactive app, in which it cuffed Big Food with its sentimental tale of a scarecrow on a mission to collect fresh ingredients -- presumably the kind the company avers to use. Funny or Die has posted a spoof in response titled "Honest Scarecrow."
While the animation remains the same, Fiona Apple's eerie cover of "Pure Imagination" is replaced with an equally ghostly parody whose lyrics uncover a darker subtext -- one of manipulation and emotional blackmail.
This is not the first time a well-liked Chipotle ad has received criticism. In 2011 it released "Back to the Start," a backed by a melancholy Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist." It went on to win the 2012 Cannes Film/Branded Entertainment Grand Prix at the Lions Festival, but remained the subject of some healthy criticism, as the company was and remains unable to claim a GMO-free menu (corn and soy-bean oil are often modified). The company site states that "when sourcing meat, we work hard to find farmers and ranchers who are doing things the right way"-- which includes "raising animals humanely" and without the use of added hormones and antibiotics." There is no mention of whether or not all its beef and chicken is pasture-raised. That being said, the company's ingredients statement includes the vow to "never stop working to improve each ingredient we serve and prepare." The ambiguity of that statement still leaves it open to gibes like Funny or Die's, though.
As for the brand's response to the film, "You know you've captured peoples' attention when you're the subject of parody," said Chipotle Communications Director Chris Arnold.