Chipotle Comeback Effort Continues with First Work from VB&P

By Erik Oster 

Chipotle has been struggling to recover from drops in sales following a series of E.coli outbreaks at some of the chain’s restaurants in 2015.

In January of 2016, Chipotle ended its relationship with PR firm Edelman. Despite selecting Vice-owned Carrot as its social media agency of record the preceding month, the chain initially avoided choosing a creative agency of record, although it did work with CAA Marketing on “A Love Story” last July. Then in October, Chipotle announced it had bitten the bullet and launched a creative review. At the beginning of the year, the chain selected Venables Bell & Partners as its creative agency of record, with VB&P reportedly beating out finalists W+K, GSD&M and mono for the role in a review that initially included as many as 20 shops.

This week VB&P debuted its first work for the brand, enlisting comedians Sam Richardson (Veep), Jillian Bell (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Workaholics) and John Mulaney (The Oh, Hello Show) for a surreal campaign set inside a Chipotle burrito, where things get “As Real As It Gets.”

The comedians each seem to take a slightly different approach to the concept. Bell initially resists the “getting real” idea, lying and embellishing information about her “Husband,” before admitting she’s actually talking about the chiropractor she has an appointment with.

Mulaney discusses topics including his childhood fear of crowds, his sweater and upcoming book, while Richardson tackles his ornithophobia, distrust of balloons and other issues. Both are interrupted and disparaged by the burrito in the process.

It’s a bit of a strange approach for a variety of reasons, as you’d think living things inside of a burrito is the last thing Chipotle would want people thinking about. Yet it’s also open-ended enough to allow for a variety of iterations going forward, even if the initial efforts fall a little flat, like a vegetable burrito without guacamole.

“We set out to avoid all the conventions of fast-food advertising,”VB&P executive creative director and partner Will McGinness told Adweek in a statement. “Using humor and a commitment to telling it like it is, we cut through the clutter of confusing claims, limited time offers or farmers holding produce and created a campaign that is very true to who they are.”


Credits:
Client: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Agency: Venables Bell + Partners

Founder/Chairman: Paul Venables
Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
Art Directors: Amanda Younger, Avery Oldfield and Mark Lawson
Copywriters: Jimmy Burton, Adam Wolinsky and Eric Boyd
Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson
Senior Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
Director of Digital Strategy and Analytics: Jeff Burger
Group Communication Strategy Director: Gavin Jones
Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
Producer: Gabby Gardner
Group Brand Director: Kammie Sulaiman Dascola
Brand Manager: Mikaela Kearns
Assistant Brand Manager: Ursula Reichle
Project Manager: Madi McCallum
Director of Business Affairs: Quynh-An Phan
Business Affairs/Talent Manager: Yelena Kompaneyets
Senior Traffic Manager: Jermelia Holling
Assistant Traffic/Business Affairs Manager: Malcolm Konner

Production Company: O Positive
Director: David Shane
Director of Photography: Maryse Alberti
Executive Producer: Ralph Laucella
Producer: Ken Licata
Production Designer: Maia Javan

Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
Managing Partner: Damian Stevens
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone
Head of Production: Kirsten Thon-Webb
Editor: Geoff Hounsell
Editor: Nick Rondeau
Assistant Editor: Gustavo Roman
Assistant Editor: John Gallagher
Producer: Alexa Atkin

Visual Effects: Timber
Creative Directors/Partners: Jonah Hall, Kevin Lau
Executive Producer: Sabrina Elizondo
Head of Production: Melody Alexander
Senior Producer: Tita Poe
Associate Producer: Brack Hightchew
Lead Flame Artist: Miles Kinghorn
Flame Artists: Chris DeCristo, Tim Miller, Chris Homel, Todd Mesher
Flame Assist: Austin Lewis
Comp Artist: Michael Loney, Jason Forster, Geronimo Moralez
Animator: Zach Carnes
VFX: Jeff Willette

Color: Company 3
Colorist: Dave Hussey
Color Producer: Liza Kerlin

Final Mix: Lime Studios
Audio Mixer: Zac Fisher
Audio Assistant: Lisa Mermelstein
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

Music: Human
Producer: Kamela Anderson
Composers: Gordon Minette, Matthew O’Malley, and Aaron Kotler
Creative Leads: Gareth Williams and Craig DeLeon

OOH Work

Agency Founder/Chairman: Paul Venables
Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
Design Director: Cris Logan
Copywriters: Jimmy Burton, Adam Wolinsky and Sharath Varghese
Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson
Senior Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
Director Art Production: Jacqueline Fodor
Photographer: Maren Caruso (agent: DS Reps)
Retouching: Toby Moore, Versatile Studios
Retouching/Prepress: Pacific Digital Image
Group Brand Director: Kammie Sulaiman Dascola
Brand Manager: Mikaela Kearns
Project Manager: Jennifer Zhu

Digital

Agency Founder/Chairman: Paul Venables
Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
Art Directors: Amanda Younger and Avery Oldfield
Copywriters: Jimmy Burton and Adam Wolinsky
Design Director: Cris Logan
Designer: Nicole Berman
Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson
Senior Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
Director of Digital Strategy & Analytics: Jeff Burger
Senior Digital Producer: Sarah Betts
Social Content Producer: Kimberly Lewis
Social Content Production Generalist: Alexis Hazelwood
Social Content Designer: Paul Rice
Social Content Copywriter: Sarah Wagner
Group Brand Director: Kammie Sulaiman Dascola
Brand Manager: Mikaela Kearns
Assistant Brand Manager: Ursula Reichle
Project Managers: Madi McCallum and Jennifer Zhu
Development and Rollout: Tooth & Joe Mease Creative

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