Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” video brings a welcomed tear to the eye

Forget that it’s part of a fast-food chain’s PR plan. Or, wait a minute — embrace that it’s part of a fast-food chain’s PR plan. This PR message is a good one, touting sustainability, farm-friendly practices, and awareness for global food issues. That’s the message behind Chipotle’s recently launched video Back to the Start in which a humble farmer decides to abandon his organic practice and shifts to factory farming until he suddenly realizes his error and happily, goes all the way ‘back to the start’ as an organic grower who respects his free-range animals and the land. Whew! Believe it or not, the seemingly complicated story takes just under two-and-a-half minutes to magically unfold via stop motion animation. The look is primitive, but colorful, rather like scenes from a child’s Weeble village — but what an effect! The cherry on top is the soundtrack, supplied by the legendary Willie Nelson, who croons Coldplay’s “The Scientist” with his signature melancholy refinement.

According to an August 31 Huffington Post story, Chipotle plans to screen the commercial at movie theaters and is also making Nelson’s cover of “The Scientist” available for download on iTunes — $.60 of the purchase price will go directly to The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation which, as their tag line states, is “dedicated to creating a sustainable, healthful, and equitable food future.” The Foundation name is prominently featured at the tail end of the video, just in time for you to wipe that tear from the corner of your eye.

In our estimation, this lovely little video, released as part of a big company’s marketing plan, perfectly defines the art of the film short. We invite you to take a look:

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