Diggs Nightcrawler developer Moonbot Studios wins fast food advertising.
Okay, that may not sound like the most ringing endorsement given the impoverished state of the industry, but Moonbot went well above and beyond the call of duty when tasked with branding Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle as the Pixar of fast food. Drawing on its experience making the Academy Award-winning animated short film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, and its interactive iOS app, Moonbot decided to follow suit and create The Scarecrow, a two-part project consisting of an iOS game and a short film.
The Scarecrow video rivals Dead Island for the best CGI game ad ever, and unlike that game's trailer, it actually ties into the product it's for. Set to the tune of Fiona Apple's cover of "Pure Imagination," the short film - below - portrays a working class scarecrow dismayed by the horrors of mass produced meat in most fast food. Naturally, he sets off to find a better way: The Chipotle way! Wisely, nothing about Chipotle actually appears in the ad at all, save for the credits that it was produced by the chain of eateries.
While a rousing piece of cinema in its own right, the short film is actually the opening cutscene to the game, which follows the titular scarecrow as he brings high quality Mexican cuisine to the people of City of Plenty. This involves him smuggling fresh veggies from the evil Crow Foods corporation's assembly line before they get contaminated by chemicles, freeing caged animals (even if they will later be burrito filling), planting produce, and finally serving customers during the lunch rush.
Each of these four mini-games has the tried-and-true three star-rating attached. None of the games have the depth to stay a long-term resident on your phone/pad, but they're all fun in short bursts and like Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World (aka the best promotional video game ever), they help tell a story and are brief enough to not wear out their welcome. Better yet, they actually teach you a thing or two about fast food. Did you know Chipotle uses free range beef? Well, you do now!
It's a really smart approach to advertising as the two components to the campaign tie together beautifully. People see the ad online and really dig it so they decide to try the companion app. It's a novel distraction with the same artistic sensibilities, so they stick with it to see what quirky mini-games Moonbot will come up with next. And by the end they want a burrito. Well played, Chipotle.