Errol Morris Takes Viewers ‘Behind the Foil’ at Chipotle

Agency partner VB&P follows up 'For Real' with a transparent look at ingredients

The heart of the campaign is a series of documentary-style ads shot by filmmaker Errol Morris. Chipotle

Chipotle’s new campaign taking viewers “Behind The Foil” is all about transparency.

Chris Brandt, who took over as CMO for the brand last March, explains that “Behind The Foil” grew out of the observation that “the inside of a Chipotle looks much more like a farmer’s market than it does any other restaurant.”

The brand took that transparency to an extreme with a livestream on Facebook of the morning prep at one of its California locations. The livestream also ran on a billboard in Times Square.

“We’re showing what the back of the house every day at Chipotle looks like,” he explained. “We’re about the real ingredients and real cooking techniques.”

The heart of the campaign, though, is a series of documentary-style ads running on broadcast and digital shot by filmmaker Errol Morris.

“I’ve seen firsthand the real ingredients and culinary skills that Chipotle employees possess, and I’m officially a believer,” Morris said in a statement.

Brandt said the brand wanted to showcase real employees in a way that resembled a documentary more than a traditional commercial.

Everyone who works at Chipotle spends time at a restaurant, something Brandt said garners appreciation in a way you can’t get through discussions alone. After his own experience with Chipotle’s morning prep routine, he said he immediately called agency partner Venables Bell & Partners (VB&P) so the team could go through it, an experience which informed the agency’s direction in September’s “For Real” campaign, as well as in “Behind The Foil.”

VB&P suggested reaching out Morris, who Brandt said “believes real is beautiful, and so do we. And the way he shoots real is cinematic and beautiful in a way that only he can capture.”

Brandt said the messaging in “For Real” and “Behind The Foil” is indicative of a long-term approach for Chipotle. He explained that the shift attempts to “bring a more positive tone to the brand” as it positions itself as a “purpose-driven lifestyle brand,” which he says resonates with younger audiences who want brands to take a stand on social issues.

“At Chipotle, it’s real, and it’s something that’s been a part of this company since the beginning,” he said. “We want to celebrate the things that we do, not the shortcomings of others and we want to celebrate our foods.”

He added that “there’s enough negativity in this world” and the brand felt like it had “a big opportunity to just celebrate what makes Chipotle great,” because “in a world of fake news and Instagram filters and botox and all these other things, isn’t it nice to get back to real?”

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.