Chipotle’s Unbranded Entertainment Marketing Coup … Farmed & Dangerous

chipChipotle did something radical last month. The company introduced its very own TV series, airing on Hulu. The first three 22-minute shows in the four-episode comedy series, titled “Farmed and Dangerous,” are now available for viewing.

It’s another example of the Mexican restaurant chain challenging industry convention. In 2012, it picked up the Cannes Grand Prix for its animated “Back to the Start” two-minute music video, which ran to a Willie Nelson cover of Cold Play’s “The Scientist.” That ad promoted the story of Chipotle’s locally farmed ingredients.

“Farmed and Dangerous” takes branded content to another level by not including any branding at all in the show. Social Media Week organizers dubbed it Unbranded Entertainment. Chipotle and other advertisers placedcommercials in the show, but by not including branding in the show itself, the restaurant has taken a risk that few marketers would entertain.

But Chipotle’s chief marketing and development officer, Mark Crumpacker, said on a panel at Social Media Week, in which I participated, that he didn’t consider it a big risk at all. Citing McDonald’s significant marketing budget, which dwarfs his company’s, he said Chipotle couldn’t afford to rely on traditional advertising. The hope is that PR, buzz and social media will do much of the heavy lifting for the chain’s message.

This is an interesting, albeit untested, new broadcast model for marketing. We’ve already seen Netflix and Hulu create premium original content online to compete again broadcast and cable networks. Chipotle’s concept is to create an own original entertainment show that somehow presents its messge while it shares in the income of ads being placed on the show by other companies.

This model makes sense, of course, only if the right target audience, specifically Millennials, watches the show. What does the show have to do to succeed?

First, it has to be genuinely entertaining. Wisely, I think, “Farmed and Dangerous” is a satire. The lead character,Buck Marshall, played by Ray Wise, is head of the Industrial Food Image Bureau. Wise’s character represents big-business interests that attempt to put a positive spin on genetically engineered foods.

Second, the show must have a message that connects with audiences. The serious message here is about the importance of food safety and sustainable farming. These are issues that Chipotle has championed from the start and are a concern for a growing section of the population. Chipotle reasons that as more people are discussing these issues, more of them will choose its brand.

Third, the show needs to walk a fine line between offering pure entertainment and overtly pushing the brand. Cross that line, and marketing savvy Millennials will turn off. Chipotle has chosen not to make references to the brand in the body of the show.

Twenty-two minutes of content and no burritos in sight. Only a handful of brands would attempt this. But, get the mix of story and message right, and you have content that consumers will want to watch, talk about and share.

It’s Time to Shift the Focus from Mobile to Mobility

Let’s Stop Thinking About Mobile Just as a Channel or Tactic and Move on to a Bigger Idea

Published in Ad Age.com January 29, 2014
mobile
In an industry that’s obsessed with tapping into the Zeitgeist, we talk about mobile as though it’s the bright and shiny new object in marketing. Are we kidding? This year, smart phone penetration in the United States will hit 80%, tablets will overtake sales of PCs, and already about half of online traffic is taking place on the mobile web. Come on marketers … consumers and manufacturers are way in front of us. Let’s kill off talk about developing a mobile plan. Our marketing plan needs to be our mobile plan … and so too do our communications.

It’s Mobility, Not Mobile. Mobile is primarily about the devices and platforms, but mobility is a bigger idea. Mobility is very much at the heart of culture right now. It is about fulfilling consumers’ desire to stay constantly connected and helping people to get tasks done on the move. Mobility in marketing is going beyond mobile advertising, to adding mobile functionality and targeting across your marketing efforts, such as how Chipotle’s mobile app helps to facilitate dining on the go by allowing you to order and pay for your burrito on the way to their restaurant to avoid the wait. Instead of allocating a separate budget to mobile alongside other media channels, we should be applying mobility solutions to our print, video, search, out of home and website. For example, how many of us have plans to add voice navigation to our website? My bet is that consumers are going to respond to added mobility in your marketing programs as they have to mobile devices … super-fast.

All Media is Digital. All Digital is Mobile. Thankfully we rarely separate digital from non-digital media plans anymore. Your digital strategy is your media strategy. In the same way, we have to stop putting mobile in a silo. A number of media companies are leading the way. According to the New York Post, about a third of its audience (print and digital) is coming from mobile devices. Over 65% of Twitter’s growing ad revenue comes from mobile ads on smartphones. Little wonder that Instagram, SnapChat, Flipboard and Waze, whose platforms have mobility at the heart of their proposition, were the hottest and fastest growing media this past year. VH-1 showed that it was able to grow its prime-time television viewing audience by 34% by improving the mobility of its shows and content. It made available full episodes through a mobile app, which also included extended content encouraging audiences to share with their social circles.

Mobility is Shifting Hyper-Local to Hyper-Location Marketing. Patch’s demise at the hands of AOL was a blow to pundits of hyperlocal. But mobility solutions are creating far more granular targeting and brand engagement. Savvy companies like PlaceIQ and 4info have mapped out the country and can provide location-based marketing (standard and rich media banners as well as video) based on where you go and where you’ve been. Apple’s iBeacon went live early this month in 200 Safeway and Giant Eagle supermarkets and could revolutionize the in-store experience. Using low-frequency Bluetooth technology, it creates GPS-like utility in the store itself that is able to pinpoint to within a few feet a shopper’s location through his smartphone and prompt him with special offers as he navigates the store.

Mobility is Fueling Intelligent Marketing. Mobility is paving the way for more intelligent marketing by utilizing the data it collects. FourSquare is somewhat re-inventing itself as a decision-recommendation engine for users and an insight resource for marketers accessing location data they have collected. The Weather Company is using its data to help retailers plan and even forecast sales. For example, based on weather patterns The Weather Channel knows that in Chicago, beer sales increase when summer temperatures are below normal three days in a row, whereas, in Dallas people buy sunscreen and bug spray in the spring when the dew point goes down. Mobility could inform an entire marketing communication strategy.

Mobility isn’t about what’s happening with devices and setting aside budgets for mobile advertising, but how you bridge mobile to real-world marketing. Exciting times ahead.

@antonyyoung

My top ten list of top ten lists for 2011 …

This is that time of the year when everyone comes out with their top ten list of 2011.  I’m never been a great believer in re-inventing the wheel, so have curated my top ten top ten lists of 2011 … Enjoy!


1. Forbes.com top ten social media lessons of 2011 by Christopher Barger

Part 1  and Part 2

Lesson #7: People in social platforms not only want to feel “part of” events or phenomena, but social networks allow them to feel like they truly are part of a collective.

2. ZDNet’s 2011’s Top Ten Pirated TV Shows by Steven Vaughan-Nichols

3. Most viewed videos on YouTube

Ultimate Dog Teaser 75.8million views

4. Search Engine Watch’s Top 10 Most Significant Search & Social Marketing Stories of 2011 by Guillaume Bouchard 

#4. Facebook Becomes Biggest Site for Display Ads on Earth

5. Ecopreneurist’s top 10 green marketing campaigns by Jennifer Kaplan

#5. HSBC “No Small Change”: A highly successful campaign elevated HSBC’s environmental credentials and consolidated their environmental leadership position; it exceeded all expectations without TV or radio

6. Ad Age’s Top 10 Viral Advertising Campaigns of 2011

# 8. Google: “The Web Is What You Make of It” Agency: Google Creative Lab Launch date: May 2 Views: 21.2 million

Google’s Chrome browser is becoming its second-most successful product, behind Search. It passed Firefox and is closing in onMicrosoft‘s Internet Explorer. Google enlisted Lady Gaga, Johnny Cash (posthumously) and Justin Bieber, among others, in 11 creative executions. Some have been promoted to TV from YouTube.

7. Adweek’s Top Ten TV Commercials in 2011 by Tim Nudd

#2 CHIPOTLE • Back to the Start

8. Hubspot’s top ten marketing infographics for 2011

#3. Top Email Marketing Irritations

9. The Faster Times top ten marketing stories we’ll still be talking about in 2012 by Mat Zucker

#6. Twitter as customer service channel

10. Mashable’s top ten iPad apps by Christine Warren