If you want comprehensive coverage of yesterday’s Super Bowl ads check out our #Hashtag Bowl site. My own view is that most of the ads failed and won’t help the brands or their products at all. Indeed, studies indicate that most Super Bowl advertising has little or no impact.
In contrast, Mexican QSR chain Chipotle may be ushering in a new era of “strategic entertainment” (not my term) with its Farmed and Dangerous mini-series on Hulu. It premieres on February 17 and reportedly cost about $1 million to produce the four-episode series.
Time offers a good synopsis:
[Farmed and Dangerous] focuses on a fictional industrial agriculture company that devises a money-saving scheme to feed cows petroleum-based animal pellets. Lots of hijinks with exploding cattle and a nefarious PR spokesman ensue. The show exposes issues in the agriculture industry that Chipotle has publicly denounced, such as dependence on fossil fuels and overuse of antibiotics on animals. But instead of hearing about these points from the restaurant directly, viewers will learn about them by laughing at Twin Peaks star Ray Wise and a wide cast of other characters.
At $1 million it is 75 percent less expensive than a 30 second commercial during yesterday’s Super Bowl. However it carries a strong brand message in the form of satirical entertainment and will likely be much more engaging for those who tune in.
It remains to be seen whether the “show” is any good and whether it generates views and attention. However the idea of Farmed and Dangerous has already generated significant press coverage. I think the concept is quite provocative and it could prove to be a successful promotional vehicle for Chipotle. If so it will be widely imitated by others.
As a creative experiment it’s to be commended. And as brand advertising it might ultimately prove to be both cheaper and much longer lasting than 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime that is largely forgotten 24 hours later.