Chipotle is out with its latest animated film, a charming and beautifully crafted tale called "A Love Story," as it tries to move past its food safety issues.
In the film, which hits the web Wednesday and movie theaters Friday, two young drink-stand owners have a growing rivalry that leads them to create massive fast-food enterprises laden with processed products. Spoiler alert: Love and healthier fare ultimately win out.
The film was directed by by Saschka Unseld of Passion Pictures, a former Pixar animator who is also creative director at Oculus Story Studio. It's set to a cover of the Backstreet Boys' hit "I Want It That Way," performed by Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
This is Chipotle's third original short animated film, its first since 2013. Of course, it comes as Chipotle is trying to woo diners pretty much any way it can, with a new loyalty program underway after free food and buy one, get one offers did little to bring many people back to the "food with integrity" chain.
The film begins with one child running a lemonade stand across the street from another child's competing juice stand. To boost sales Ivan starts advertising his "Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice" and Evie soon responds with a marketing push for her "Hand Squeezed Lemonade."
Each character begins adding a wide mix of products to the menu, including lots of fast food and combo meals, as the rivalry grows. As the film progresses they "abandon their integrity, if you will, in their competition to lure people in," said Mark Shambura, Chipotle's director of brand marketing.
As the budding entrepreneurs age, their competing businesses become more elaborate and industrialized, packed with machinery churning out items filled with processed ingredients.
Ultimately the duo unite and lovingly serve, you guessed it, food that resembles some of the items at Chipotle.
The film's release comes roughly eight months after dozens of people began falling ill from eating at some of its locations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented 60 cases in two separate E.coli outbreaks, but did not identify a specific food or ingredient linked to the people's illnesses. Chipotle enhanced its food-preparation procedures in the wake of the issues, including changing how it prepares some of its food, which it has long touted as "food with integrity."
Read more about the campaign at AdAge.com.