Chipotle is producing a comedy series to promote its "concerns about sustainable agriculture," reports Noam Cohen in The New York Times (1/27/14). Four 30-minute episodes, airing on Hulu (trailer), will tell "the story of an idealistic boy who falls for a girl whose father … works for farmers planning to raise cows on petroleum pellets, a move meant to increase the food supply by lowering costs. At the start of the series, a cow feeding on the pellets explodes." Chipotle marketing chief Mark Crumpacker says the goal is to use comedy to promote regulation.
"As you do with all comedy, you take a real issue and then amp it up," Mark says. The strategy is "not about ‘product integration’ but ‘values integration’." Daniel Rosenberg of Piro, which produced the series, called Farmed & Dangerous, with Chipotle, says the series "is meant to strike large emotional chords – it’s not about selling burritos." Indeed, the show has "no scenes at Chipotle restaurants or impromptu testimonials to its tacos or quesadillas." As such, it "sits in between content for entertainment and advertising," says Hulu’s Bryan Thoensen.
Farmed & Dangerous "will live on Hulu next to conventional TV comedies," and its commercial breaks will include spots for Chipotle. Daniel Rosenberg says "there was no difference in this process from creating a TV show," and Bryan Thoensen says the show "has high production values along with recognized talent" (it stars actor Ray White). NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller meanwhile says the show is based on proven principles: "The best way to sell something would be to create a kind of buzz that would naturally lead people to buy your product."