Farmed and Dangerous Chipotles Weird Propaganda Web Series

first_img Finally, KFC Makes A Colonel Sanders Dating GameKFC Tests Plant-Based Beyond Fried Chicken in Atlanta Streaming online videos services like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon developing their own original shows is the new normal. Arguably, shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black are artistically superior to what you can watch on network channels.However, what isn’t normal, at least not yet, is a brand creating a dramatic web show on one of these platforms to advance its agenda. But that’s exactly what everyone’s favorite Mexicanish fast food restaurant Chipotle did with 2014’s Farmed and Dangerous on Hulu.Take a look!Farmed and Dangerous is a four-episode show about an evil company called Animoil that wants to efficiently pump questionable chemicals directly into farm animals instead of letting them eat real food. You see, it’s all about the dangers of factory farms that other restaurants rely on.Legitimately celebrated actor Ray Wise (also appeared in the Tim and Eric movie around this time) plays the devilish PR rep using slick lies to convince the world that these dangerous agricultural practices are actually healthy, a moral mandate even. The only person who can save the world from exploding cows and eight-winged chicken is humble free-range cattle farmer Chip(otle) Randell and his Real Food.I’m not saying that Farmed and Dangerous is Triumph of the Will-level dangerous propaganda, but it is maybe one of the more ambitious and insidious examples of that hot new marketing trend Sponsored Content. If you’re fortunately unfamiliar with the concept, Sponsored Content (or Native Advertising) is content designed to look like original articles and videos but is actually a commercial.Sponsored Content is a thoroughly researched story on spicy chicken paid for by KFC. It’s lists about NYC’s girls sponsored by HBO’s Girls. And it’s a web show about the evils of factory farming produced by a restaurant that proudly advertises its ethical food sourcing for its decent tacos and burritos. It’s no secret that Chipotle is behind the show, but since the restaurant plays little if any role in the plot, if you weren’t paying attention you could think this is just some weird web miniseries that encourages you to support the farms Chipotle happens to also support.Warning consumers about the real dangers of artificial ingredients is certainly a noble goal (although Chipotle’s staunch refusal of GMO ingredients may have played a part in its recent, stock-killing viral epidemics). But my problem with Farmed and Dangerous is my problem with basically all of Sponsored Content. It’s designed for brands to creatively deceive users who either have ad blockers or are just smart enough to ignore more obvious ads into looking at the advertisement, which is as gross as it sounds. The only thing grosser is the oozing David Lynch nightmare imagery Farmed and Dangerous uses to further demonize its targets, which again probably deserve to be demonized.Sponsored Content lurks inside of honest editorial working against the audience’s own interests. As John Oliver explains, it’s the result of the wall between business and news independence/integrity eroding because folks can’t be bothered to pay for media. It’s like using colorful mascots to sneakily sell slop to children but for adults. At least I know Mac Tonight is a burger shill, unlike the very memorable Chip Randell.“I hope Farmed and Dangerous inspires other brands to stand for something,” the makers of Farmed and Dangerous finally breaking my will.This wasn’t even the first time Chipotle pulled a stunt like this. In 2013 the chain aired a lovingly animated short film (and subsequent mobile app) called The Scarecrow about evil farms set to a haunting Fiona Apple cover of “Pure Imagination.” Frank Ocean was originally involved until Chipotle refused to remove its branding from the “humanitarian” ad.The Chipotle cinematic universe is even interconnected since Ray Wise’s Farmed and Dangerous character Buck Marshall dismisses the video’s message.Farmed and Dangerous aired three years ago but currently there don’t seem to be any ways to watch it. It’s no longer on Hulu, and the website just links back to Chipotle. After all, these days the company does have more things to worry about than paying someone pretending to be Ray Wise to spout the company line on Twitter.I just wanted to document the show’s existence for weird internet/advertising historical purposes, so we don’t all trick ourselves into thinking this was another Street Sharks fever dream lie. Yes, it’s true, Chipotle really did make a propaganda web show. Stay on targetlast_img

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