Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm a Music Geek

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m a music geek. I love everything about music. And yes, I schedule time to watch the Grammys. Live. From start to finish.

I’m also a failure at sitting still. And I’m terrible at watching TV. The fast forward button on the remote control is my best friend.

Sunday night during a commercial break for the Grammys, as I was checking Twitter for the latest updates, letting the dogs out for the 19th time in an hour (good grief), and trying to decide what to have for dinner, I found myself standing still.

The almost impossible happened. I stopped multi-tasking to focus 100% of my attention on listening to Willie Nelson cover Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” As I walked back into the living room to see what I was hearing, I found myself watching a Chipotle commercial.

Except it was so much more than a commercial. Titled “Back to the Start,” it’s two minutes and twenty seconds of stop-motion animation. It’s a short film.

Chipotle got me, Ms. Perpetual Motion, to stop and pay attention to their message. Harder still, once they had my attention they kept it for the full 2:20. Much beyond that, really. I’m still thinking and writing about it today. And I’m seriously craving a Chipotle burrito bowl vegetarian with extra guac.

They asked Willie Nelson, one of the founders of Farm Aid, to lend his voice both figuratively and literally. They chose Coldplay’s “The Scientist” to convey the idea of sustainable farming and “getting back to the start,” and they wrapped the whole message in stop-motion animation that illustrates the genesis of what they stand for as a company: Food with Integrity.” Plus--be still my heart--it has a charitable component. When purchased from iTunes, $.60 per download of Willie Nelson’s cover of the “The Scientist” benefits the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which provides funding to support sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education.

Then, as if that weren’t brilliant enough, they elected to air their 1st national television ad in the 18-year history of the company during the Grammys. (Willie Nelson has received multiple Grammys on top of being a lifetime achievement award recipient, and Coldplay performed in-house. Slam dunk.)

Why is all this so brilliant, according to me? Let’s look at the stats.
·         “Back to the Start” has been on YouTube since summer 2011.
·         To date, it has been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube.
·         Shortly after its release, it was the eighth most-shared ad on YouTube (September 2011).
·         Since the fall of 2011 it has run in 10,000 movie theaters nationwide.
·         “Back to the Start” was named by AdWeek as one of the 10 Best Commercials of 2011, coming in at #2 behind Volkswagen’s “The Force.”
·         It was listed by Zeta Interactive as one of the top 10 ads to generate online buzz in 2011, one of only two ads to make that list without debuting during the Super Bowl.

To sum it up, an old YouTube viral video that has been shared millions of times and won a couple of awards last year was just repurposed as a TV commercial aired during a music awards show with the largest viewing audience since 1984. They can’t improve on that marketing strategy if they tried. But I’m betting they will.

Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts about Chipotle’s marketing strategy?

What do you think about stop-motion animated short films as advertising? Is this the next trend in “traditional” advertising? Or is it so unique that once it’s been done it can’t be recreated in a meaningful way without being compared to “that great Chipotle YouTube video”?