Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How To Send a Message

Yesterday, I talked about something that depressed me during the Grammys.  Today, I want to talk about something that impressed me during the broadcast.

I'm talking about the Chipotle Mexican Grill commercial that debuted Sunday night.  There has been plenty of buzz about it since then.  If you haven't seen it, here's a link:


First off, I love decision to have Willie Nelson singing Coldplay's "The Scientist" as the only audio during the ad.  There is nothing better than a quirky crossover cover version to catch your attention.  Secondly, the animation is wonderfully creative.  My wife especially loves the little pigs, cows and chickens.  Third, the ad sends its message without being in-your-face or preachy.

For those of you unfamiliar with Chipotle, their restaurant chain buys their meats and other products from small, family-operated farms--with sustainability being a major focus.  And that is the message this ad conveys (the farmer starts small, expands, becomes a "corporate farm" operation, realizes this isn't what he wants and goes back to his smaller farm roots--where he supplies Chipotle with its food).  Unless it was slipped in there subliminally, there's no "MEAT IS MURDER" graphics in the ad, there is no undercover video footage of slaughterhouses, there is no one dressed up like a bloody chicken standing outside of KFC. 

And nowhere in the ad is there a little animated Congress passing a law barring the little farmer from running a mega-operation.  There isn't a little animated White House with a little animated First Lady demanding new dietary standards for fast-food restaurants, and there were no little animated City Council banning kids meals.  Chipotle was merely saying "this is the way we do business--and if you like that, give us a try."

Now before you think Chipotle is some hippie-hut, money-losing operation like Solyndra, consider that its stock price (yes, it is an "evil corporation") is currently over $377 A SHARE with a P/E ratio of of nearly 56.  It won't be putting Taco Bell out of business anytime soon--but for people looking for better quality and eco-friendly practices, Chipotle is providing a successful option.  And that is EXACTLY the way things are supposed to work in a free-market economy.

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