The Case of Chipotle’s Scarecrow
This is the second article in a series of three commissioned by the General Director of PETS International, the trade journal for the $100 billion international pet industry. Here, I delve into the use of video games for advertising purposes, or ‘advergames.’ Advergames can be used with various levels of intensity to promote products, organizations, and viewpoints. Using the case of Chipotle’s Scarecrow, I outline the value, use, and some success metrics for games as a marketing tool.
Chipotle’s Scarecrow Campaign
In September 2013, restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill set out to promote its new corporate initiative Food With Integrity. The FWI initiative was meant to draw attention to Chipotle’s emphasis on sourcing sustainably (i.e. local and organic) raised food. The low-cost restaurant chain known for its burrito’s and taco’s went against the grain for promoting its corporate ethos to the outside world. Instead of opting for a traditional marketing campaign, Chipotle contracted digital production agency Moonbot for the development of a mobile video game accompanied by an animated digital short film, both titled “The Scarecrow.”
Chipotle’s Scarecrow was released on September 12, 2013 for Apple’s iOS platform (iPhone & iPad). After five days, the adventure game had already accumulated 300,000 downloads and earned its rank in Apple’s U.S. Game charts. At the same time, the animated short film enjoyed over 5 million views on YouTube, fuelled by coverage from the New York Times and numerous other publications applauding the campaign. Venturebeat labeled the Scarecrow campaign as “one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history.” Since then, the video game has continued to do well, and the video has ranked up nearly 14 million views on YouTube. (meer…)