Chipotle #Scarecrow Campaign: Advertising or narrative and WHY it worked

Chipotle #Scarecrow Campaign: Advertising or narrative and WHY it worked


by Lisa Peyton

‘Chipotle’s latest marketing campaign has gone viral’ reads the headline of one of the many articles buzzing about this 3 minute video simply called ‘The Scarecrow’.

Since first hearing about the video over a week ago in a newsletter I subscribe to, I have been bombarded with references to the campaign in almost every facet of my life. My digital marketing students a Portland State, my social media clients, my connections on LinkedIn, the girl at the gym, strangers on the streetcar – everyone, it seems, it talking about it.

Chipotle has managed to trigger a wide range of responses; outcries of hypocrisy from vegans on the left, protests from conventional farmers on the right and angry fans on Facebook who  demand The Scarecrow app promoted by the video is available on Android. The Scarecrow video has garnered over 6 million views on YouTube with the final count likely to be much higher. So WHY did this video manage to cause such a stir and get so much attention? There are several factors that have contributed to its rapid proliferation.

Empowerment Marketing

The Scarecrow video is the poster child for what Jonah Sachs calls Empowerment Marketing. In his book called ‘Winning the Story Wars’, Sachs describes a new breed of advertising that ‘inspires action by painting a picture of an imperfect world that can be repaired through
heroic action’ (Sachs, J. 2012). Sachs was tweeting about The Scarecrow campaign himself, shooting out a link to an article interviewing the animation’s creator, Moonbot Studios. According to Sachs, there are three tactics that can separate empowerment marketing from more traditional marketing messages. (more…)