Food of Integrity or Illusion: Chipotle’s New Smartphone Game

By Amanda DeCanio
Sophomore, Environmental Engineering Major

“Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it,” Fiona Apple sings menacingly in the modernistic video advertisement for “The Scarecrow,” the new Chipotle Mexican-food-chain game for smart phones. More than a high quality video game with stellar animation, “The Scarecrow” is a tactful device to attract skeptical consumers to believe Chipotle’s stance and actions toward “protecting, growing, and serving delicious fresh food,” the clear and ultimate theme of the game. Play the game, and you also have a chance to win a code to “Buy One Get One” on burritos, burrito bowls, salads, and orders of tacos!

Chipotle picture (pixelydixel.com)

Watch the video, and the message is clear: Chipotle is virtuous, plus mighty tasty. Innovation marketing is demonstrated at its finest by combining the haunting lyrics of “Pure Imagination” with a focus on animal welfare, antibiotics, and the general processing of food. Meant to pull at heartstrings, the video artfully follows a scarecrow that works for a large food corporation called Crow Food Incorporated in the town of Plentyfull. Tired of the fake “100% Beef-ish” food they are selling their gullible customers, the scarecrow fights for fresh and quality ingredients. The sad eyes of the scarecrow, plus the artfully timed rise and fall of the music, create an honest and moral pathos toward Chipotle.

As the fast food fad heads down a greener, environmental, and health-friendly route, Chipotle has nabbed this opportunity to market to an audience of activists, college students, and health junkies who still eat fast food but want to feel good about it. Topics such as animal cruelty and mindful eating are entering mainstream consciousness with high frequency.  For all the students who have attempted to adapt to a health-conscious lifestyle, this is ideal.

It is imperative, however, to remember that Chipotle is as large and prominent a corporation as any typical fast food company, and the video is entirely purposeful. The concept of the video is rounded on principle, but to what extent do their perceived values seen by the audience resonate?

Though the game is lightly branded and overall very entertaining, some students reflect on the video and game with skepticism and hope. “How do we know that they are actually implementing what they say?” questioned Savannah Snowden, sophomore nutrition major, adding, “Is it all for show?” Mallory Wood, sophomore elementary education major, voiced her concerns on public diffusion, saying, “But how far-reaching is the game to get the news out? I didn’t hear about it until someone forced me to watch it.” It is a fear that Chipotle does not genuinely participate in all the deeds they advocate, but all in all, “What they are doing is really great and important; educating people in an appealing fashion engages the customers,” added Wood.

Download the game, and help the scarecrow escape its job at the Crow Factory. What better way to celebrate beating Crowbots and becoming an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plentypotentiary than with enjoying two times the burritos for the price of one!

 

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