The Chipotle fast-food burrito chain  is at it again – using fear-mongering tactics to scare folks into buying its burritos. This isn’t the first time the brand has used fear to sell products, as the chain’s anti-conventional agriculture messages have been around since the chain’s establishment. It does appear, however, that Chipotle has upped the ante in recent years.
Last year, the company unveiled an ad that featured Willie Nelson  crooning a sad song about “factory farming.” The ad included images of chickens shaped like antibiotic pills, and livestock stacked tightly into enclosed buildings. The blue skies lightened once the animals were released and allowed to frolic outside. The overall message was that farmers and ranchers were doing animals wrong and that, by purchasing Chipotle burritos, one could stand up against modern agriculture and enjoy ethically sound food in the process.
Then, Chipotle backtracked a little bit. The company admitted it couldn’t keep up with the demand for its all-natural steak burritos, so it would be serving conventionally raised beef  to keep up with growing sales. This admission puzzled me, as the chain so adamantly protests anything but all-natural meat products. Funny that Chipotle would be willing to lower its so-called safety and quality standards just to make a few extra bucks.
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Now Chipotle  has launched another frightening campaign. The ad features a scarecrow, with eerie music accompanying images of animal abuse – chickens stuck with needles to make them heavier, and steers so fat they can hardly walk. The ad concludes with the tag line, “Cultivate a better world,” and encourages viewers to make better food choices by growing their own food (which is a good idea), and buying Chipotle, of course.
I’m so disgusted by the tactic some companies use of bashing conventional agriculture in order to move more all-natural products. Consumers  shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about buying regular meats from the grocery store, and they shouldn’t fear that if they don’t buy natural or organic that they are somehow harming their children.
What do you think of Chipotle’s latest advertisement? How should we respond? Will this marketing program hurt the industry? Is a boycott of Chipotle products called for? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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