By Michael King
After seeing the two Chipotle commercials in class last week I had mixed feelings about their message. On one hand, I felt like they were very powerful messages delivered in a way that would both get the audience interested and make them think about the way food is produced in this country. Many of us know that much of the food that we consume on a daily basis comes from factory farms but it is not something that we necessarily think about every time we eat. The Chipotle commercials not only emphasized the negative effect of factory farming on the animals, but the farmers and workers as well. I thought that this was a really good way of making people consider all of the effects of this way of life, even the ones that were not immediately obvious.
On the other hand, I found the Chipotle commercials to be rather disingenuous. The fact that they did not include their company name anywhere until after the audience already felt the remorse and guilt of eating factory farmed foods. It felt to me as if they didn’t want the audience to know it was a Chipotle commercial until they had already arrived at a conclusion about this way of farming. I think that if the commercials had started out with a large Chipotle logo it would not have been as effective because many people know that Chipotle only uses free range meats “when available”. Instead, the commercials sought to tug on the heartstrings of Americans, and it’s hard to tell if Chipotle’s goal is a moral, or capitalistic one.
Chipotle is of course not the only restaurant to brag about their “healthy” alternatives. Other fast food restaurants advertise their salads or “low calorie” options but rarely is any real information given. These advertisements prey on the average person’s need to feel healthy or moral when I believe that the companies actually have no investment in an individual’s health. While I don’t see these major corporations backing off from this tactic any time soon, I think there are solutions. Better public health education would allow people to make educated, healthy decisions about what they consume without having to rely on information from the companies that profit from selling unhealthy foods. This is why communicating about health and the environment is so important and why I think this class will be extremely useful in our everyday lives.