Aside from advocating for the constant smoking of marijuana, country crooner Willie Nelson also gives one fuck about sustainable family-owned farming — hence his participation in FarmAid. It’s a worthy cause, and an important one really when you think about how the corporate-farmed food you buy from a supermarket isn’t really food at all but rather an amalgamation of chemicals, sugar and salt.
So Willie Nelson teamed up with Chipotle (of all companies) to record a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” for this two-minute-plus quasi-PSA.
“Created by animator Johnny Kelly, whose portfolio also includes work for brands like Bacardi, the spot tells the story of a farmer who, after cramming his livestock into pens and pumping them full of hormones, suffers a crisis of conscience and returns to his roots as a sustainable farmer. Hence the video’s title, ‘Back to the Start,’ derived from the song’s punch line,” Ad Week writes.
Sure, there’s a slight WTF element to the notion of Willie Nelson recording a Coldplay song for a Chipotle commercial. But the burrito chain does care more than most fast-food joints about sourcing its ingredients from local farmers and sustainable farming practices. Obviously, this is near and dear to Nelson’s core beliefs. So it makes sense on some level.
What’s perhaps even better is how Chipotle shoehorns itself into the ad with the simple subtle reminder of its logo on the truck that the company buys from family-owned, sustainable farms. They don’t ram the message down the audience’s throat, nor do they come off looking like a preachy company. It’s just a subtle, moving reminder that fast food doesn’t have to be done the way that it is.
What’s most amazing about this spot is how utterly moving it is. You can buy the song off of iTunes if you’d prefer your Coldplay songs to sound like Willie Nelson, which, let’s be honest, is the only way to listen to Chris Martin and Co.