Chipotle’s Famous Willie Nelson Spot Getting a Run on TV

Stop-motion masterpiece will air on Sunday's Grammys

It's fitting that Chipotle's stirring two-minute "Back to the Start" film—released last summer on the Internet and in theaters, supporting sustainable farming practices—will make its national TV debut during this Sunday's Grammy Awards telecast on CBS. After all, "what makes the spot truly transcendent is the music," noted my colleague Tim Nudd in ranking the clip second on Adweek's list of the best commercials of 2011. Coldplay's "The Scientist," sung here with resonant intensity by Willie Nelson, sports lines amazingly attuned to the subject matter: "Questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as my heart." The soundtrack adds immeasurable power and depth to the stop-motion tale (crafted by Chipotle, CAA and Nexus director Johnny Kelly) of a farmer who eschews industrial methods and releases his animals to roam and graze. Nelson's performance is achingly honest as he acknowledges by nuance and inflection the missteps of the past while looking ahead to a brighter future that's by no means assured. It's an affecting and memorable performance, one that might well upstage the selections presented on the actual broadcast.