BEEF Daily

Chipotle Demonizes Agriculture In Commercial On Grammy Telecast


Did you catch the ugly Chipotle commercial on Monday’s airing of the Grammy Awards? This was presented to a record television viewership of 39 million people, and agriculture must step up to the plate and correct the misinformation presented in the commercial.

As I watched Taylor Swift tickle the banjo, Chris Brown dance across the stage, and Adele graciously accept her six Grammy awards on Sunday night’s program, I wasn’t expecting to be hit with a political agenda. That’s exactly what happened when Willie Nelson started crooning a sad song to accompany a very demonizing animation of animal agriculture. This is Chipotle’s latest campaign and, although the commercial isn’t new, it certainly garnered a lot of viewership in the evening time slot during the awards show. Now, it’s time for agriculture to balance out the conversation. I’ve rounded up a few items to help us do just that.

First, I think it’s important to encourage consumers to ask real farmers and ranchers where their food comes from. The conversation was heated from both sides on Facebook and Twitter Sunday night, and I think a lot of folks did a great job of keeping the conversation constructive and limiting the back and forth mudslinging that activists seem to enjoy the most.

Second, here are a few links worth passing along to help correct the myths presented by the Chipotle ad:

Check out the American Meat Institute’s research-based perspective on agriculture and the environment.

Another great resource is Dr. Jude Capper, animal scientist at Washington State University, who explains how new research suggests that improved forage quality can increase gains and efficiency, thus reducing the carbon footprint. Earlier research by Capper points to corn-fed beef as being the more sustainable option in beef production as it uses less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Further reading on the topic can be found in this article, “Modern Beef Production Is Green,” as well as “Agriculture Was Green Before Green Was Cool.”

What did you think of the commercial? How can we counteract emotional commercials like this Chipotle campaign? Agriculture must own this conversation, showing consumers we are sustainably feeding the world, while caring for the environment and the animals.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a few quick facts to use in your Facebook and Twitter messages this week. Courtesy of Explore Beef, did you know?

Today vs. 1977, U.S. agriculture...

  • Produces 13% more beef from 13% fewer cattle,
  • Which produce 18% less carbon emissions,
  • Utilizes 30% less land
  • And requires 14% less water.
  • What’s more 85% of all land is not suitable for agricultural crops, but can be used to graze livestock.
  • A total of 2.8% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to livestock production, compared to 26% from transportation.

Don't forget to vote for your favorite photograph in the "Winter Wonderland On The Ranch" Contest! Deadline is Sunday, with both champions and three voters to go home with $100 in VISA Beef Bucks! Click here to participate!


Discuss this Blog Entry 14

on Feb 16, 2012

Great Post on such a hot topic. I appreciate a logical, lets talk to farmers and ranchers approach to Chipotle's poor representation of animal agriculture. In my opinion the commercial took a stab at farmers, ranchers, ag retailers and the great truckers that keep this country going. A positive focus is the only way we will change any minds of consumers!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 16, 2012

Chipotle Grill has consistently violated immigration law and gets raided often for hiring illegal aliens. They exploit their workers and pay less than the living wage.
Just vote with your feet and don't eat there. We don't. And, don't pay too much attention to them anyway, who listens to a burnt out old stoner like Willie Nelson? Global warming is bogus, carbon footprints are bs and the paleo diet is catching on like crazy. Beef is the king.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 17, 2012

Perfectly said!

Nick E. (not verified)
on Feb 22, 2012

I grew up showing livestock and working on dairy operations. I have also obtained a degree in agriculture with an emphasis in marketing and communications and this is what I can tell you...

Willie Nelson's career status is mute and whether the theory of global warming is 'bogus' or not, consumers will still form an opinion because they saw the advertisement and processed the information. The ad was well constructed with interesting graphics and a tune that related and carried through the entire ad. The consumers that Chipotle Grill reached during that award show were probably left with a fairly strong impression especially because the majority of them are not informed consumers. Though I disagree with the message, and more over wish livestock producers could have used such clever animation, it was still sent.

faf19a2 (not verified)
on Feb 16, 2012

I remember when Willie Nelson depended on the ag indusry to help him out of his IRS problems. I find if disturbing that he was part of a direct stab at the same industry that had helped him in the past. Amazing that McDonalds that sells nothing that isn't animal and ag based shoots themselves in the foot with a commercial that is a subliminal message to quit eating meats and animal products. Next the activists will target schools to stop serving meats and eggs in their food programs. If the activists are so concerned about society's conscience, perhaps they could spend their time and money taking care of abandoned animals, foster children, and the homeless.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 17, 2012

Extremely well said! NO FARMS NO FOOD.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 16, 2012

I think it speaks volumes that conventional agriculture is threatened by this ad. Why should anyone be against chipotle advertising it's product in this way, so longas it's true?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 16, 2012

Because it's not true.............

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 16, 2012

Mischaracterization means,"It ain't true."
Karl Marx said a lot of stuff that was not true. It's described as a ridiculous lie technique by Saul Alinsky in his book Rules For Radicals.

Here's an example:
Occupy makes villains of the wealthy 1% the same as did Karl Marx the wealthy 1%, same as did Joe Stalin the landed Ukrainians, and the same as did Hitler the Jews and for the same reason: To rob them.
The madness returns.
Who will speak out against the madness?

Perry Patterson,, (not verified)
on Feb 16, 2012

As a 2nd generation cow/calf operator, I ignore the star spangled criticism of my time honored and economic necessary trade of producing the finest quality beef that can be had in any market at any price. Any Buddist would be happy and proud to return to this life as one of my happy cows.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 17, 2012

I am a young farmer and thought the ad was a good example of where ag has gone and what we have all learned along the way.

on Feb 17, 2012

The little piggy at the end of the spot thinks he is now the family pet. He'll still end up in the metal container, on the warming grill, to be piled into a carnitas, with sour cream and guac.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 20, 2012

What is everyone afraid of ? when they get hungry they will eat.

Lindsey (not verified)
on Feb 22, 2012

This is an opportunity for ranchers and farmers to showcase what they do. The door for freedom of speech and press is a revolving one. Why doesn't organizations like the National Cattlemen's association seize this as an opportunity to ask someone like Willy Nelson or Taylor Swift to meet some of the hardworking Americans that many of thier songs protray? Why not ask Chipotle advertizers to have a "friendly" discussion about this commercial and how every farmer and rancher in the US has had to consider all of the "themes" that were portrayed in the cartoon?

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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