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Shreveport's Moonbot Studios boosts Chipotle's profile

Kate Archer Kent

The new online animated short commercial for Chipotle Mexican Grill has gone viral -- more than 5 million YouTube views and counting. It has Shreveport creative firm Moonbot Studios to thank. Moonbot partner Brandon Oldenburg is surprised by how many people have checked it out.

“We’re abashed. We’re amazed by watching these numbers go up as far as the amount of views," Oldenburg said, during an interview at Moonbot's Shreveport office.

The Academy Award-winning creative firm accepted a two-fold animation project from Chipotle’s ad agency more than two years ago. The result was "The Scarecrow" released one week ago. It’s ashort film and game app that takes aim at processed food giants. The storyline is set to a remake of the song “Pure Imagination” performed by crooner Fiona Apple.

Oldenburg says this follow-up to Chipotle’s first animated commercial in 2011 has similar intrigue.

“The place that makes burritos is doing an animated short that has a scarecrow in it? And is that Fiona Apple singing? There’s a game too? There’s so many what-is-happening moments throughout this experience that that’s what makes it more engaging, and then you also start to realize there’s a message here," Oldenburg said.

The overt message about sustainable farming is one that Chipotle’s creative agency wanted to hit home, according to Limbert Fabian, Moonbot’s creative director. The animation shows a “100 percent beefish product” moving along conveyor belts and an ultra-plump chicken injected with growth hormone.  Fabian said his team was never told to tone down the message.

“They constantly kept going, well go bigger, or don’t be afraid to do that. It’s OK to do that. We want to incite a conversation," Fabian said.

But the conservation around Shreveport may be less about sustainable farming and more to do with when Chipotle will open on Youree Drive. Oldenburg and Fabian said that in initial talks with Chipotle they kindly requested a local store. They’ll get that end of the bargain early next year.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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