Chipotle Mexican Grill's first ever Super Bowl ad begins with a young boy dining at home, burrito in hand, who poses the question “what if this could change the world?”
His sister adds some older sibling snark. "A burrito?" she replies. "You are so weird."
The spot, set to run during the game’s second quarter, comes from Venables Bell & Partners and was directed by Mark Malloy. It focuses on how food choices can affect the future, the kind of message that the “Food with Integrity” chain has been promoting for years. The boy hopefully narrates the changes that could happen while traveling through farms and fields before returning back to the kitchen.
"How we grow our food is how we grow our future,'' reads text on the screen toward the end of the 30-second spot.
And with the siblings dining at home, there’s a delivery message to, um, deliver as well. On Feb. 7, Chipotle will waive delivery fees on its app and site for orders of $10 or more. And it will donate $1 from every Super Bowl Sunday delivery order—including those made through third-party apps—to the National Young Farmers Coalition. Also, from now through February, diners can opt in to round their order charges up to the next dollar amount, with the proceeds going to that organization.
The chain also announced Chipotle’s Farmer Fund, with a pledge of $5 million over the next five years to help the next generation of farmers and ranchers succeed.
With its first Super Bowl ad buy, Chipotle joins a growing list of newbies that already includes DoorDash, Fiverr and several other brands diving into the Big Game in 2021. While Chipotle's 60-second spot was not available at press time, ideas such as using locally grown produce and meat from humanely raised animals continue the chain’s focus on more responsible sourcing. At the same time, the by airing the ad during a popular dining-in day, it serves to reinforce the chain's accessibility. Chipotle, like other brands, has been relying more on delivery during the coronavirus pandemic, with dining rooms shuttered in many areas of the country. Nearly 49% of Chipotle's third-quarter sales came from digital orders, and about half of those digital orders were for deliveries.
Chipotle's marketing under Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt, who, along with CEO Brian Niccol, spent years in marketing at Taco Bell, has helped the chain move past food safety issues that led to precipitous drops in sales beginning in late 2015.
“Our Super Bowl ad debut is a milestone moment for our brand,” Brandt said in a statement. “We want to use this massive platform to help shift attention toward creating positive change for the challenges our food system faces and educate consumers on how they can make difference.”
More than 400 million acres of farmland is expected to need new farmers in the coming years, Chipotle notes, citing data from the National Young Farmers Coalition. Yet, it can be challenging for young U.S. farmers to find affordable land.
Along with the 30-second version of the spot appearing during the Super Bowl, Chipotle also released a 60-second version online.