Chipotle Mexican Grill is taking a different approach to advertising its healthier Mexican food options with the release of a new iOS game, "The Scarecrow," and an accompanying short film. The game is set in a fictional community that is dominated by processed food facilities staffed with the scarecrows. The scarecrows used used to be the farmers who cultivated fresh, wholesome food for the community, but now that processed foods are the norm, they no longer have farms to manage.

The message Chipotle is sending with the new game is clear: consumers need to be concerned about the push for processed food, giant food conglomerates and factory farming. 

“The more people learn about where their food comes from and how it is prepared, the more likely they are to seek out high-quality, classically prepared food like we serve in our restaurants,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer at Chipotle. “We created 'The Scarecrow' game and film as an entertaining and engaging way to help people better understand the difference between processed food and the real thing.”

The topic of factory farms came up last week at my daughter’s ballet studio. I was sitting with a group of moms in the lobby as we waited for ballet class to finish. About ten of us started talking about factory farms, processed foods and where to buy healthier alternatives locally. 

Chipotle has hit the proverbial nail on the head with this new campaign – everyday consumers are talking about this issue but the company’s game-centered approach is going to reach even more consumers. Gamification makes everything more interesting, right? A little incentive will help spread the message, too. Chipotle is giving food rewards to players that complete the game with at least three out of five stars in each world. 

Learn more about the game by watching the two videos below. The first is the official film that accompanies the game and the second video is a look behind the scenes when it was being made. Download the game, which is available for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, from the App Store.

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