Jul 14, 2009 at 09:23 PM
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Chipotle Greenlights Food, Inc.

Chipotle today announced it will be rolling out a promotional partnership with Food, Inc., the upcoming film documentary that seeks to expose the U.S. ag industry's impact on the environment and economy. Chipotle will host free movie screenings in 32 cities across America, while advertising the documentary with promotional materials in 860+ fast-casual restaurants and including branded content in the movie’s DVD release. You can also watch the movie trailer, see the screening schedule and sign-up for tickets on the Chipotle site. The partnership fits nicely with one of the mexican grill's core tenets: the freshest ingredients in fast-casual. Take for example, a few of their recent taglines:

"Chicken raised with care, not chemicals.

"We're anti-antibiotics (but pro-chicken)."

"Pork from farmers, not factories."

"Farmed friendly."

So how do you market the message of 'food with integrity?' Here's what Chipotle's Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO Steve Ellis told Business Week some time ago:

"I would like to have advertisements telling people about food with integrity on television, and plastered on billboards and in all the big magazines and national newspapers. But I don't think people want to hear it that way. That might be too preachy."

Contrary to Ellis' past statement, today you actually might see Chipotle's cheeky creative on billboards (and we've seen several 'no antibiotics' billboards, too), but the food with integrity message (as he alluded to above) still seems to warrant a more complex balance of transparency (i.e. open kitchens) and direct communication to those that are interested in the message (i.e. speaking to them on their terms in a more relevant venue).

That's where the film sponsorship of Food, Inc. comes in. Can the sponsorship serve up an effective opportunity for Chipotle to cut through the clutter with a clear message about food with integrity? We'll see.

‘I hope that all our customers see this film,’ said Ellis. ‘The more they know about where their food comes from, the more they will appreciate what we do.’

A good case study here about adapting marketing mediums to optimize the brand message and another feather in integrated media's cap! A nice sponsorship score for Magnolia Pictures, too. Now, who's hungry?