Chipotle Mexican Grill has released a new animated marketing film entitled “A Love Story.” The four-minute film, which was released on YouTube on July 5, has already been viewed more than 4 million times on the platform.
The film, which will also be shown in movie theaters, was released in an effort to improve Chipotle’s consumer image. Opinion of the restaurant has declined rapidly recently due to several food borne illness outbreaks. In an Organic Authority poll of more than 540 Chipotle customers, half said they would not eat at Chipotle Mexican Grill today.
The short film tells the story of two young juice stand entrepreneurs, Evie and Ivan. While the video begins, as the title suggests, as a love story between two children, competition between the pair leads them to grow their businesses far from their original goals, developing them into mega-fast-food restaurants with automatic, inauthentic preparation processes.
The two protagonists taste their own drinks at the climax of the film and realize how far they have departed from their original goals of "fresh squeezed" orange juice and "homemade" lemonade. This realization allows them to revert to the fresh, high-quality ingredients that they started out with – just like Chipotle Mexican Grill, the video reminds the viewer, as the company’s logo appears at the end, right after the message, “Cultivate a better world.”
“We think ‘Love Story’s’ message will galvanize our loyalists and remind people of the Chipotle they love,” said Mark Shambura, Chipotle Mexican Grill brand marketing director.
Others are not so sure, however. “Chipotle is trying to reassure its connection to wholesomeness and quality, but if it does not address the fundamental issue here, which is a breakdown of trust between the brand and the target audience, it risks leaving issues unresolved,” William G. Daddi, president of Daddi Brand Communications, told the New York Times.
Chipotle has tried other methods of renewing customer confidence since the August and December 2015 norovirus outbreaks in California and Boston, the salmonella outbreak in 2015, and the E. coli outbreak in October and November of 2015. The chain has distributed buy-one-get-one-free coupons and also began a rewards program rewarding customers based on frequency of visits.
Sales at Chipotle Mexican Grill are down around a third in its first quarter. Second-quarter earnings for the restaurant chain will be released on July 21.
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Chipotle Mexican Grill image via Shutterstock