The Scarecrow, TruMove and Content Marketing

Increasingly Digital Marketing is less about the technology and more about the message. It is no longer simply enough to have an app or digital video on YouTube; what value does it add for the end-user? Does it inform? Entertain? Mesmerise? How brands are using content for marketing is now stretching into territories, which until recently were the domain of the publisher or film producer or games maker. The truth is though in the Digital Age we are all publishers in one form or another.

US Mexican Grill brand Chipotle has raised the bar of content marketing several levels in its new transmedia (utilising more than one media; in this case YouTube Video and Apps) campaign ‘The Scarecrow’.

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The Scarecrow is a short movie about a scarecrow working in a highly unethical, environmentally unfriendly food production environment. Until one day when he comes home to his beautiful home produce he … well watch the movie and find out.

The production values are astounding. Complex compelling animated story telling with a haunting sound track. Although the movie reflects Chipotle brand values there are no direct references to the company (apart from a visual clue towards the end) and the closing credits with a call to further action. In this case the call to action is to download the iOS (Apple devices) game.

In the game version you get the chance to pursue the story as The Scarecrow and achievements will get you things like free burritos.

This not your average marketing campaign.

There are some highly complex values being transmitted here. Primarily the campaign focuses not on Chipotle but on their values of wholesome food. Watching the video doesn’t get you a free burritos, nor does just downloading the game. It is only achievements within the game that brings that reward. So the majority of the audience are being engaged in a different way, with the brand values, it is about building a relationship.

Apple have shown that brand loyalty counts but it doesn’t have to be brought by reward points or special discounts. It can be won and retained by a sense of brand values. In this campaign Chipotle reflects a similar approach. At the time of writing The Scarecrow has had over 7,000,000 views on YouTube. It is being widely reviewed in mainstream press and media, ‘buying’ publicity and brand engagement traditional PR and advertising could only dream of.

OK so clearly Chipotle must have spent a fair amount of money on this. What about smaller businesses with tight budgets can their content truly engage?


Chipotle had something to say. In the fast food world their commitment to ‘Food with Integrity’ (as they put it) makes them different. In their marketing they write about supporting and sustaining ‘family farmers’, caring for animals, the land and the people. I suspect though more people have watched The Scarecrow video and got the sense of those values than have read through the documentation on the website (however, entertainingly presented it is).

So what do you have to say? Do you really want your marketing, in whichever medium, to just say you are cheaper than your competitors? The chances are you maybe now but someone will come along and beat your price sooner or later. Or perhaps you have a really good frequent purchase reward scheme (loyalty schemes are such a misnomer!) and if someone ‘likes’ your latest video on Facebook you’ll give them extra points! Now these things are all well and good but increasingly in the fast distraction Digital World the consumer wants to be engaged and connected with content that resonates with them. Does it make them laugh, cry (try the viral video below from Thai Company TruMove H for a weepy!) or think?

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Remember in the Digital World marketing is no longer about just pushing an advert or collecting likes it is about connecting with the audience in a way that truly resonates building brand interrelation with the audience. It is about telling stories.

What stories have you got to tell? Let me know, I would love to hear them (use the link on the right of the screen saying ‘send voicemail’).

Stuart Smith Founder and Chief Shepherd 3 Sheep To find out more about how Digital could help your business, contact us or call 3 Sheep’s Chief Shepherd, Stuart Smith on 0161 408 6626.

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