During Thursday’s Dallas Cowboys-Las Vegas Raiders Thanksgiving football game, restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill aired an unusual ad. The Weible-like characters star a series of scenes in which a farmer father, suffering a health crisis while trying to make his way back to his home in heavy snow, leaves to take his eldest son to the farm. The son brings in modern technology and makes a profit by selling the crop to Chipotle.
It makes for a beautiful version of Coldplay’s Fix You, sung by Casey Musgraves.
The ad is over two minutes long, and is actually more of a heartwarming short film than a typical commercial. When it was posted on Chipotle’s YouTube channel on November 15, many of the comments were positive.
“I grew up on a family farm and can totally relate to the message,” said one commenter. “We need more young people to come back to our family farms and keep them out of the money-fraudsters of big time corporate interest. Thanks Chipotle for supporting family farming!!”
In a press release on 16 November, Chipotle said the film, called A Future Begins, “based on the true story of a Chipotle farmer” and the family that sent a child to college but struggles to keep their farm intact, the child returns to save the day through new technology and sustainable growing techniques. The company also requested support for 2023 Farm Bill, a proposed successor to the existing Farm Bill expiring that year.
Chipotle did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment and feedback about the film.
When the ad aired during Thanksgiving football, some people were confused, and they said so on social media. For one thing, many thought the farmer died fighting on his way back home in a head-high snowstorm. but wait! There he stands next to the family of his wife and their son in the final seconds of the ad. So he didn’t die? Just had to bring in your son’s aid because of breathing in the snow? Had a heart attack because of the snow? Broke his hip and was dug by a snow drift by his elderly wife? Not everyone understood.
“Did we really just see a @ChipotleTweets ad where an elderly cartoon farmer shoveled to death in the snow?” One person said. “Kinda makes me want a burrito.”
Another said, “Laughed out loud when a commercial with a cartoon wobble wobble farmer who cried too long died of a cold in the snow, finally finding out it was for Chipotle.”
Others reported that careful onlookers would know that the farmer had survived.
“He didn’t die,” said one person. “But the son had to take care of the farm. He revamped the operation, got married and had a baby. Everyone is alive and well.”
But while opinion may be divided on advertising, perhaps all publicity is good publicity?
“Awful lol but we’re all talking about it, is it a win [them]?” said one person.