You can call it branded entertainment, but we’ll call “The Scarecrow,” the lyrical video from the Oscar-winning animators at Moonbot Studios, a short film — a really lovely short film. With cinematic nods to both “The Wizard of Oz” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the animated film contains some of the same sweet whimsy and luscious images as those classic live-action ones. Setting the video to Fiona Apple’s cover of “Pure Imagination” from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was an inspired choice.
Just as Chipotle did with their “Back to the Start” video in 2011, they have created something here that is beyond spurring social conversation and creating warm feelings about the brand. This film, which has the dark undertones of a Tim Burton film, evokes genuine feelings and — dare we say? — aspires to real levels of art. Moonbot, which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 2012 for “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” creates a poignant narrative in this silent animated film, which is, funnily enough, intended to promote the app of the same name.
“The Scarecrow” is the first of four dark comedies the company plans to produce — via CAA Marketing — under the “Farmed and Dangerous” platform that presents factory farms as the enemy. The 3 1/2 minute film takes on industrial farming: set in a dystopian world where chickens and cows are pumped full of hormones, the scarecrow of the title seeks a happier place, where animals aren’t force-fed and where people can eat healthy food. Okay, put that way, it’s clearly propaganda designed to make us think of Chipotle as the heroes in the fast food world.
Whether or not you’re buying the message, we’re sold on the filmmaking. Check it out below: