Hey, if a famous TV producer like Norman Lear can make a burrito (and we’re assuming he can), surely a burrito-making company can produce a TV show, right?
As kooky as it sounds, Chipotle Mexican Grille, the fast-casual restaurant chain that promotes a message of “food with integrity,” has gotten into show business with what the company calls the “new frontier in marketing.” It’s also another example of a huge company investing in content marketing.
Now, is it going to pay off?
Farmed and Dangerous is a 4-part drama/comedy series currently running online and on Hulu. It features some decent production values – most notably, an exploding cow — and at least one recognizable face, veteran actor Ray Wise of Twin Peaks and Mad Men fame. Each episode is about 23-minutes, and it doesn’t take long to see the message Chipotle is looking to get across via the show’s storyline.
The plot centers on a fictitious, “ethically-challenged” company, Animoil, and the fight against it by the good guys, in this case the head of the Sustainable Family Farming Association. His name? “Chip.” No word on whether his late name is Otle.
Chipotle is serious about this thing. The website is slick, and there’s even a trivia game with prizes to make sure you watched each episode.
But the message being conveyed by the show is ruffling some feathers in the agricultural industry. USA Today reports some farmers groups are criticizing the portrayal of the industry. As we see it, this is still clearly accomplishing the marketing goals Chipotle set out to achieve.
So, are you ready to binge-watch a while season of Farmed and Dangerous? Even at four episodes, it’s unlikely most people will go that far. But you can bet your tortillas that the Taco Bells of the world have taken note of this bold slice of content marketing. We’re just waiting for the inevitable carne asada spinoff.