That Chipotle Willie Nelson Singing Coldplay’s “The Scientist” Commercial
I know that this is old news, but I was watching the Grammys (and seeing my girl, Adele, win all those trophies) and this little commercial made me sit up and take notice. I have a feeling that it was a one-shot, but it needs repeating elsewhere. Apparently, Chipotle‘s going back to the start as well, relying on free-range chickens, pork and beef. Yes, people, this is a shorthand method of saying how your food is actually being created and processed. And it isn’t always pretty.
This is from an AdWeek blog:
Attention, industrial farmers. Willie Nelson wants you to stop drugging your pigs and smashing them into compact, easily shippable pork cubes. So does Chipotle. So, the country icon and champion of family farms covered Coldplay’s hit “The Scientist” for this two-minute-plus pseudo-PSA, commissioned by the sourcing-conscious burrito chain. It will start running in theaters come September. (The song is also on iTunes.) Created by animator Johnny Kelly, whose portfolio also includes work for brands like Bacardi, the spot tells the story of a farmer who, after cramming his livestock into pens and pumping them full of hormones, suffers a crisis of conscience and returns to his roots as a sustainable farmer. Hence the video’s title, “Back to the Start,” derived from the song’s punch line.
“My biggest takeaway from the Chipotle commercial is that I really dislike the lead singer of Coldplay,” tweeted @chimpotle, while Allyn White commented, “Coldplay bested by Chipotle commercial with a Willie Nelson cover of their song.”
Even fellow musicians took note. Alt-rock duo Tegan and Sara remarked, “In a strange twist, Chipotle commercial that followed w/ Willie singing a Coldplay song captivated me more?”
Though the jingle was previously released online last August, its primetime debut after the band’s performance was cleverly timed on the part of some programmer with a sense of humor, particularly given the fact viewers were encouraged to download it on iTunes as a contribution to Chipotle’s sustainable farming practices.
Of course, not everyone agreed.
“Willie Nelson is completely butchering Coldplay’s the scientist in this Chipotle commercial,” tweeted Emily Trauth.
Whatever. Willie has always done his bit for American farmers and with Farm Aid. That’s where he came from, from rural roots. Say whatever you want about Willie, but he ain’t fake.
And not only the Twitter universe weighed in. So did the apologists for things as they are and should continue to be.
In a New York Times opinion piece, Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst warned that our political correctness actually backfires because it drives small farmers out of business because only “big multistate operations will also be able to afford to make the changes, or will at least have the political sway to resist them.”
Hurst also questions Chipotle’s assumption that a pig would prefer a pasture to a warehouse. Have there been “porcine focus groups,” he wonders, with “response meters designed for the cloven of hoof?…For all we know, pigs are ‘happier’ in warm, dry buildings than they are outside. And either way, the end result is a plate.”
(If Mr. Hurst’s name is ringing a bell, perhaps it’s because he first made a name in the food world as the author The Omnivore’s Delusion, the anti-foodie screed he penned in response to Michael Pollan‘s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.)
Kelly is represented by indie production company Nexxus Productions, which also reps visionaries such as Jonas Odell and Smith and Foulkes. The Irish-born animator studied at The Royal College of Art where he completed an MA in Animation. His graduation short film, Procrastination, received global attention and won him the Jerwood Moving Image Prize 08 and the Best Animation, NYC Shorts award. He has also directed music videos and commercials for Adobe, U.N., BMW, Bacardi and Google.
I may be on food stamps, but I know where to go to get my food. And it necessarily ain’t Woodman’s (the proprietor’s wife contributed to Scott Walker’s campaign, BTW, so I won’t be going there for a while and perhaps never, despite their low, low prices), or Copp’s or Sentry. And I love free-range as well as buffalo and venison as well as a good green salad or casserole and beans and rice.
I think that this commercial has a great message. I hope more of them pop up sooner rather than later.
- Willie Nelson covered Coldplay for Chipotle, announces more dates, 2 NJ shows (brooklynvegan.com)
- Frolicking Pigs & Willie Nelson Covers Coldplay: Chipotle Goes Back to the Start (laist.com)
- Chipotle Rocks The Grammys (thedenveregotist.com)
- “Willie Nelson makes everything better”: Fans Love Willie Nelson’s version of Cold Play’s song in Chipolte Commercial on Grammys (stillisstillmoving.com)
- Chipotle’s Farm Ad: Pros and Cons (blogher.com)