Food News

Chipotle Puts Down Burritos to Make a Film About Displaced Scarecrows, and It's Sad

A burrito never felt so heavy. Heavy hearted kind of heavy. Your last three-pound foil encased carnitas with guacamole might have made you want to make you take a nap, but Chipotle's new online commercial will make you want to cry in a corner.

With more than 4.5 million hits since it was published on September 11, technically the purpose of the video is to promote their new free app, The Scarecrow. In reality, it feels a bit more like the purpose is to depress the hell out of us.

The video is about a scarecrow that works in factory after losing his job out on the farm. The long-legged bag of hay is on a defeating quest to find wholesome, sustainable food in the city, all while his boss, a mechanized crow mockingly squawks in his face. The 3-minute short is set to a sultry, and at times haunting, Fiona Apple cover of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

A statement from Chipotle says the film and apps are "designed to help educate people about the world of industrial food production that supplies much of what they eat." It goes on to say the film is set in a "dystopian fantasy world," where scarecrows are no longer needed in fields and instead work in factories pumping out food-like stuff that people ignorantly consume, with nary a clue about how it is actually made.

To drive home the point, the saddest cow you've ever seen is attached to a pumping contraption and a chicken gets a chest-job up with quick poke from a syringe. The happy part comes when the scarecrow goes home to make his own food that he's harvested from a garden he keeps.

Apple's cover of "Pure Imagination" can be downloaded at iTunes and $0.60 per download goes towards the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which provides funding for family farming and sustainable agriculture.

Hug a farmer. And a scarecrow.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.