The 10 Best Commercials of 2011

The year's most impeccable craft and storytelling in advertising

Best of 2011, Lists

About the Author

Tim Nudd is creative editor at Adweek.

CHIPOTLE • Back to the Start2

Agency: Chipotle and CAA • Director: Johnny Kelly, Nexus • Models: Bob @ Artem • Music: Willie Nelson

Chipotle served up the most stirring and thought-provoking environmental spot of 2011 with this stop-motion gem from CAA and Nexus director Johnny Kelly, with a major assist from Willie Nelson. Having pioneered the use of organic, locally grown ingredients in fast food (and launched a foundation to support sustainable farming), Chipotle wanted to communicate its green philosophy in an artful and poignant way. The resulting spot tells the story of a farmer who builds his small operation into a giant industrial machine—penning in his animals, fattening them with chemicals, chopping them up in slaughter machines, and polluting nearby rivers in the process. Eventually he has a crisis of conscience, and reverts to his old way of doing things—releasing the animals to roam and graze, adding wind turbines to his fields, and giving his organic, free-range meat to a visiting Chipotle van. The visuals are breathtaking. But what makes the spot truly transcendent is the music—a commissioned cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" by Willie Nelson. The song is lyrically perfect, emotionally rousing, and sung gorgeously by the 78-year-old country legend. Overall, the spot is a marvel of craft, visually and musically. And it answers its own call, with all proceeds from the sale of Nelson's song on iTunes going to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

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