Posts Tagged ‘Fast Food Nation’

Chipotle Advertises Carnitas Burritos with a Side of Social Message

March 10, 2012

The following may have happened over a month ago, but attention spans are a funny wait hold on…

Attention spans are a funny thing. They keep us from–shit, I’ll be right back.

Okay. Attention spans. We don’t have much of these things anymore! Whether the short-term consequence of too much iPhone time or some scarier rewriting of our fundamental biology triggered by a forever changed information landscape, it’s hard to argue that we’re not the…almost focused people we once were. Be honest: when you see a 5-minute YouTube video, you hesitate to click. It’s too damn long. Consider a 3-hour movie or many-more-hours-long book (fuck THAT), and there’s no point denying it: we’re cat video people now, and if you haven’t gotten our attention in about two minutes then you’re never going to get it.

Hence commercials as our storytelling medium du jour. In 18-20 fewer minutes than you’d spend watching the latest episode of ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter,’ you can tell a complete story. And in all kinds of genres! “Boys will be boys” Budweiser commercials. American auto industry by way of ‘Friday Night Lights’ Chrysler spots. And sometimes ads that go deeper — videos that accomplish their default surface-level promotion while tapping into something of greater social relevance. The latest addition to the Commercial Hall of Fame? Chipotle.

Obviously people love both pigs AND twee sensibilities (an upcoming ‘New Girl’ storyline where Jess adopts an albino pig will probably unmake the universe), so the commercial’s aiming at a very calculated sweet spot. But DUH, that’s the definition of “commercial.” And this one hits nowhere near the levels of emotional manipulation found in the “Kony2012” video, instead opting for an almost minimalist approach to getting its message across. In 2 minutes and 20 seconds, you’ve got a visually arresting journey from farm to industrial hell and back to farm again, all done without words (minus Willie Nelson’s cover of “The Scientist”) or the sort of YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM guilt-making so prevalent in similar ads. It’s a socially conscious advertisement from a once-McDonald’s-owned corporation that doesn’t beat you over the head, but let’s you figure out for yourself a) how to feel and b) what to do. Could be nothing! At least you saw a cool stop-motion video with music by Willie Nelson.

As noted by James Poniewozik in a great TIME article,

“…it’s pretty remarkable to see such an eloquent-without-being-strident argument questioning the way our food system is set up being made, in prime time, by a big fast-food (or “fast casual”) company…I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a short film by any advocacy group that was as well-made, well-argued or emotionally on point.”

Google’s been doing it for a while now, but we can add Chipotle to the list of top-flight short-form storytellers doing something to entertain while making us question what’s going on around us. And maybe stop fast-forwarding through our pre-recorded TV shows?

Hahaha come on.

What’s the Deal with Chick-fil-A?

September 23, 2011

While our up-to-the-minute fast food coverage at Lifting Fog is usually burger-focused — with a special eye toward “consumer insanity” — every so often we like to put down the beef and examine some other industry staples, i.e. tacos or chicken. Today’s story is not about tacos.

On Thursday morning a brand new Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in Hollywood, USA — only the seventh franchise in the Los Angeles area, and a gleaming beacon of hope to chicken lovers who also happen to be Lakers fans. Coupons good for a year’s worth of free chicken sweetened the deal for the nearly 200 people waiting in line, who started camping out Wednesday morning. Asked what they would do with 365 days of chicken sandwiches, customers could only point to the nearest hospital and say “food.” It was that kind of crowd.

But back to the question at hand: why’s everyone losing their freakin’ minds? The coupon component makes sense — they’re coupons; it’s free food. Understood! But the sandwiches themselves…I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they sell the same basic item at McDonald’s? Wendy’s? Etc.? Five Guys is a chain to go nuts over. WAWA is a chain to go nuts over. But Chick-fil-A seems an underwhelming star to hitch your wagon to.

…And that’s forgetting entirely about the SECOND reading of the question, which is that lost in all the chicken excitement is some pretty unsavory news: Chick-fil-A, for whatever reason, is REALLY NOT A FAN OF GAYS.

Keep reading!

Burger King Encourages Americans To Get Fat, Lose Friends

January 13, 2009

medicine_eatstation_eating-702002The King has gone bloody mad.

Hot on the heels of its “Whopper Virgins” initiative (which has been simultaneously labeled “culturally insensitive” and “hilarious”), Burger King recently launched a new promotion that’s just as absurd. “Whopper Sacrifice” is a Facebook application that combines the joys of unhealthy eating with antisocial behavior, asking users to delete or “sacrifice” their friends in exchange for a free Whopper. Sacrifice? Mel Gibson wishes he had thought of this while promoting Apocalypto.

Some people think this latest bipolar decree from the King is offensive and “undermines the whole idea of Facebook marketing as a constructive viral force,” but some people have never been on Facebook. As anyone under the age of 25 can tell you, there’s a world of difference between friends on social networking sites and those of a more flesh and blood persuasion. The definition of “friend” online stretches far beyond “person with whom one shares mutual affection” to include “enemy,” “former babysitter,” and “I don’t know this person” among countless other permutations. Example: I’m friends with a guy named Koz Collateral whose favorite movie is Scarface and whose hobbies include “cappin’ bitches JK” and “ridin'”. I haven’t been interested in ridin’ for about three years. Facebook friends are friends insofar as they’ve checked the box that says so. (Don’t tell Koz.)

Point is, most Facebook users probably have at LEAST ten people they’d be more than happy to de-friend/sacrifice. We’ve all thought about it, avoiding the act because we’re totally insecure and desperate for friends, fake or otherwise out of laziness. But now? There’s a meaty reward for tossing the bastards overboard. It may say “I value a moderately priced cheeseburger over you,” (to which the funny ex-friend might reply “have it your way! LOL”) but it does so with style to spare. Plus the recession…

(Thanks to Tian Xie for pointing out the website!)