How Chipotle Found Success with Branded Video Marketing | Small Screen Producer Digital and Inbound Marketing Agency HoustonChipotle has seen quite a bit of savvy success with video marketing in the last few years. Do you remember when the food franchise first tapped into the video world? It was in 2010 with the release of, “Back to the Start,” their very first national TV ad that told a story about a farmer who rejects the industrialized nature of modern agriculture.

While this might not seem like the most exciting concept to put in a video, this 2-minute video has collected over 8 million views on YouTube and has been one of the most talked about video ads on the Internet.

Chipotle’s most recent release is another video this past September titled, “The Scarecrow,” which is stylized in  a similar manner, using the same formula, but tells a different story about a happy farm that’s turned into a cruel, heartless factory farm.

According to Mashable, “Scarecrow” has seen 11 million views on YouTube. And Chipotle reports that the video has additionally sparked 12,000 Facebook posts, 31,000 tweets from more than 26,000 Twitter users, generating 126 million impressions. Press coverage has even tacked on another 500 impressions. Unruly has ranked “The Scarecrow” as the No. 55 most-shared video of the year. So what makes these videos and other branded videos so attractive to viewers? The answer might be simpler than you think.

Successful Branded Videos:


It’s important to note that branded video doesn’t have to be a multimillion dollar expense like Chipotle’s ads were. If it took huge dollars to create huge hit videos, YouTube essentially wouldn’t exist. What makes a video the most appealing is that it takes a complicated idea, procedure, or process, and tells it in a way that’s not convoluted or time-consuming for the viewer, It’s simplified, entertaining, and 2-3 minutes in length at most.

Tell a Story

Notice that Chipotle didn’t make a video about themselves, but about a real-life issue. They brought a bigger picture and story in the equation that got people thinking, which, in our opinion, garners the most appeal with today’s audiences. Could you image telling a story about the woes of modern architecture by having someone stand, with papers in hand, reading paragraph after paragraph? What made the Chipotle videos so tremendously successful was the use of branding elements and motion graphics that made the whole story approachable and easy to understand for the audience.

Evoke Emotions

Unruly’s Ian Forrester mentions the sharing isn’t about creative appeal as much as it’s about emotional appeal. These videos triggered strong emotional responses by telling the story without a voiceover, but instead with inspirational artist and song compilations never heard before by anyone. The music combined with the motion graphics used visual and auditory stimuli to attract audiences. And these types of videos evoke stronger emotions than any static images or slide shows.

Have Share Ability

What did viewers do once they were captivated by one of these inspirational videos? They simple shared it online to everyone on their social networks. The nature of videos nowadays is that they live and breathe on the web and are embedded, posted, retweeted, uploaded, and downloaded everywhere. According to Forrester, customers are 30% more likely to share ads that evoke positive emotions than ads that elicit negative ones. He goes on to say that even though the Scarecrow video had a somber look and feel to it, it was clever enough to use a combination of positive and negative feelings to get a response. And it worked.

The point we’re trying to make is that what Chipotle has started here is something all brands should open their eyes and take a look at. Despite the few critics who have labeled off Chipotle’s video ads as obscure and not consistent with Chipotle’s actual food practices, Chipotle says it merely wants to start a conversation. And on the web, a conversation starter in a video has the capability of going very far.


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