Can Fiona Apple and Willy Wonka make you eat better meat? That's the question inadvertently posed in a new animated short film from Chipotle. In the short, a scarecrow farmer gets an inside look at the fictional agricultural mega-producer Crow Foods, which promotes itself as "all natural" to the unwitting denizens of Plenty. Behind the scenes, however, Crow is injecting its chickens with growth hormones and doing something very unkind to its cows, which are ultimately turned into "100% Beef-Ish, an unsavory double entendre if there ever was one. The video, intended to highlight the abuses of big agro companies and their effects on our food supply, is soundtracked by Apple's cover of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory theme "Pure Imagination."
And how is this supposed to help Chipotle sell burrito bowls? Well, it's not — at least, not directly. Moonbot Studios, which created the short film, has also released a companion game, available on iTunes, proceeds from which will benefit the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a non-profit that funds initiatives to support "sustainable agriculture, family farming, culinary education, and innovation." Sales from Apple's cover, soon to be available on iTunes, will also go toward the foundation.
Chipotle's been on this tip for a few years now, starting with its 2011 spot "Back to the Start," with a melancholy Willie Nelson providing the music. How Chipotle managed to get Apple, a vegan, involved in a project to promote responsible meat-eating is a mystery.
Curiously, however, the "Scarecrow" spot debuted just a month after Chipotle was in the news for potentially changing its stance on its meat supply. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold acknowledged in August that when the company runs up against a "responsibly raised" meat shortage, it uses less-than-ideal meat rather than not using it at all. According to Arnold, all of the chain’s pork and chicken so far this year met Chipotle’s standard, and about 80 percent to 85 percent of its beef did. Under Chipotle's standards, meat that comes from animals treated with antibiotics and/or growth hormones is not considered "responsibly raised." (USA Today)