Is Farming Alarming?
‘Farmed and Dangerous,’ a 2014 Chipotle plea to have consumers think and understand more about where their meat comes from. Chipotle launched a four show comedy series on Hulu aimed at exploiting ‘mega meat corporations.’ All four shows display the length a corporation will go to create a positive image. However in these four shows, that ‘corporation’ features the fictional megacorporation Animoil.
To provide context for the series, I analyzed the trailer. You are greeted with an eerily dark opening scene. What appears to be Animoil headquarters, dark clouds and suspenseful music get your emotions running. Leading you to the arc is someone’s footsteps on tile floor. Your heart beat starts racing and you aren’t sure where the scene will lead. In a lab we find a workers feeding cows ‘petropellets,’ a fictional pill made of petroleum. The cow explodes from the pill and that scene goes viral. Descending from the arc we see business meetings with corporate staff and farmers trying to deescalate the aftermath.
In comedic relief, Chipotle uses this trailer to entice viewers to join them for their four shows. The conflict in the trailer is between farmers and big corporation. As you might have guessed the corporate characters were in business suits while the farmers were portrayed with button down plaid shirts, cowboy boots riding horses. The typical image when you think of those two parties. The entire plot including music, lighting and b-roll shots gave the idea of suspense. These combined drew the viewer’s attention even further down the road of imagining where your food comes from.
An unconventional marketing campaign Chipotle does make people think about the origins of their food. Putting things in perspective, Chipotle forwent producing super bowl commercials to create this Hulu series instead. The campaign provided unique insight into production of meat and other food sources.
Being a cow lover I did not agree with blowing up a cow to get a point across. As an ‘agvocate’ I wish Chipotle did a better job of telling the truth. It did however push me to talk more about where your food comes from and push people to support local farms. Needless to say before this series was introduced I was not a Chipotle fan, and now seven years later, I have yet to step foot into a Chipotle restaurant.
Chipotle set out to question the unsustainable world of industrial agriculture. According to Chipotle, they address issues that they think are important. To me, the series is misleading and doing more harm than good for animal agriculture. It set me on a path to connect consumers with real-life farmers, not ones that dress as one.