During the Dallas Cowboys-Las Vegas Raiders Thanksgiving soccer game on Thursday, the Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain ran an unusual ad. Weeble-like characters feature a series of scenes in which a farmer father suffers a health crisis as he tries to get home in heavy snow, leaving his adult son to take over the farm. The son brings modern technology and saves the farm, profiting from the sale of crops at Chipotle.
Everything is set to a beautiful version of Fix You by Coldplay, sung by Kacey Musgraves.
The ad is over two minutes long and is really a heartbreaking short film more than a typical commercial. When it was posted to Chipotle’s YouTube channel on November 15, many comments were positive.
“I grew up on a family farm and I really care about the message,” said one commentator. “We need more young people to come back to their family farms and keep them away from the big business interests. Thank you Chipotle for supporting family farming! “
In a November 16 press release, Chipotle said the film, titled A Future Begins, is “based on the true story of a Chipotle farmer” and a family who sent a child to college but struggled to keep their farm intact, with the child returning to save the day thanks to new technologies and sustainable cultivation techniques. The company has also requested support from the Agricultural bill 2023, the proposed successor to an existing Farm Bill that will expire that year.
Chipotle did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment on the film and the response to it.
When the ad aired during Thanksgiving football, some were confused and said so on social media. On the one hand, many believed the farmer had died as he struggled to get home in high snowdrifts. But wait! There he is, standing next to his wife and their son’s family, in the dying seconds of the commercial. So he’s not dead? Just had to bring her son over because of snow inhalation? Have you had a heart attack caused by snow? He broke his hip and was dug up from the snowdrifts by his elderly wife? Not everyone understood.
“Did we really just see a @ChipotleTweets ad where an old cartoon farmer died shoveling snow?” Said one person. “A little makes me want a burrito.”
Another said: “I burst out laughing when the very long teary ad with a cartoon flickering farmer appearing to freeze to death in the snow finally revealed it was for chipotle.”
Others pointed out that attentive viewers would know the farmer survived.
“He is not dead,” said one person. “But the son had to take over the farm. He reorganized the operations, got married and had a baby. Everyone is alive and well.”
But while opinions on the ad may have been divided, maybe all publicity is good publicity?
“Terrible lol but we all talk about it, is it a victory for [them]? ”one person said.