Oh, Chipotle. How I love your burritos. The warm tortilla shell nestles that warm bean and steak mixture. With bountiful amounts of sour cream and guacamole. How ever did you make this meal taste so good…
I think most of us have enjoyed a Chipotle burrito before, but for the last few years, Chipotle has been coming under some fire by some agvocates. It hasn’t been because agvocates have experienced poor service or sub-par food, but rather for the way Chipotle chooses to portray certain segments of agriculture.
You may remember this scarecrow advertisement created by Chipotle, highlighted by a scarecrow scared of where the food industry was heading. Or the newest Chipotle endeavor making a mockery out of agriculture in a short satirical comedy on Hulu called “Farmed and Dangerous.”
I could sit here and argue about whether these advertisements are truthful, but that is not the reason I think agvocates should be taking notes. You see, the strange part about these advertisements is that they don’t really mention Chipotle. Yes, watch those advertisements again and you will see that there is really no direct mention of Chipotle until the very end.
You are probably thinking what’s the big deal, but in the marketing sector everyone is talking about it. Chipotle is almost revolutionizing the way advertising works. And surprisingly, these tactics are working. People are actually listening and believing what Chipotle has to say because, well, it is “content marketing.”
You may have heard about content marketing, which has been a really big buzz phrase associated with blogging and social media for the last few years. Content marketing is the idea that brands create informational (sometimes controversial i.e. Chipotle) content including blogs, social media and most recently, advertising. The beauty of content marketing is giving a brand a voice on important issues in its industry, leading customers to have a better “relationship” with the brand. Chipotle is using a lot more content marketing in their advertising than a majority of other brands. They are successfully making an advertisement “informational” without it seeming like they are selling a product.
Chipotle’s use of content marketing is a pretty big deal because it is changing the public’s perception of agriculture, whether warranted or not.
So you are probably asking yourself, how do we (agvocates) become less “advertisement” and more “informational?” How do we as individuals get the trust back from the American public (with a smaller marketing budget I might add)?
You are probably expecting me to say that you need to tell YOUR story. This is true and we can always use more agvocates out there, but I think the best way to reach consumers is by reaching out and getting into their homes as a collective, UNIFIED unit. No more “organic versus conventional” or “small versus large,” we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves before we can start fighting against the likes of Chipotle. Yes, Chipotle may have many advertising and marketing minds and a large multi-million dollar advertising budget, but I know they can’t compete with a grassroots initiative as determined as the families involved in agriculture.
I think we have great opportunities available for anyone to start advocating for agriculture, so in the words of Nike, just do it.