Spotlight on sustainability

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s video Back To The Start proves that promoting your ethical and sustainability credentials needn’t be just a ticked box.

Around this time last year, American restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill released an online music video called Back To The Start (below), featuring Willie Nelson covering Coldplay, to promote their commitment to sustainability. Cinema and TV spots followed and now creative awards are giving this spot professional recognition as well.

UK’s Creative Review magazine featured it as Best In Book in this year’s Annual, and last month it was awarded the prestigious Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards. At the same awards Yeo Valley’s spot featuring ‘boy band’ The Churned earned a book slice, and Lurpak’s Kitchen Odyssey commercial a nomination, showing that TV advertising for food is stepping it up on the creative front.

Advertising of past years and decades has been much more safe and reactionary. But with more demand for ethical and sustainable products (and a greater number to choose from) advertisers need to be more creative. And those that go against the grain are finding their content going viral, arguably doing more than a TV ad ever could.

Research by Defra shows that although healthy choices are still the most important factor (discounting price) in food choice, ethical and sustainable factors are important to a growing number of people. This is certainly encouraging for the future of produce, but also for the exposure of sustainable themes in creative advertising.

With greater acceptance and competition, businesses will be able to take a leaf out of Chipotle’s multi-award winning book and develop not only messages, but identities with which their target audience can identify.

What’s the most creative food advert you’ve seen lately? Do you think Chipotle’s approach to sustainability marketing has worked?

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