Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

A GAME-changing strategy: See how this restaurant became a hit through a mobile ad campaign! [Friday: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

February 16, 2024

Many of you are probably familiar with animated advertisements… but have you heard about mobile advergames

If this is your first time hearing this, allow us to explain briefly… 

Mobile advergame is an unconventional mobile advertising strategy that brands use if they want to release new products or increase brand awareness. This strategy involves embedding a brand’s message in a game to make promotion more interactive and effortless.

Did you know that in September 2013, a restaurant company launched an animated video and a mobile game to share a story about food production?

This brand is famous for offering FAST but HEALTHY food that health-conscious consumers love.

The name of this restaurant? 


Photo from: Brandfetch

Chipotle Mexican Grill, famously known as Chipotle, is an American fast-casual restaurant that primarily serves various Mexican-inspired foods.

With its tagline, “Food With Integrity,” the company is committed to serving food that uses GMO-free poultry, grass-fed beef, and locally sourced vegetables and toppings.

To further amplify its slogan across the globe in September 2013, Chipotle launched a guerrilla marketing campaign that left a lasting impression and sparked discussions among a broad audience.

What did the company do?

Chipotle collaborated with the Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles and Moonbot Studios to develop a 3-minute animated video campaign. The primary goal was to promote a game presented at the end of the commercial.

Both the overall campaign and the mobile game were named “The Scarecrow.”

Photo from: Boston University

The 3-minute animated video, which was uploaded on YouTube, portrayed a discontented scarecrow employed at the fictional company, Crow Foods Incorporated. Various scenes in the video depicted the unsatisfactory processes of conventional food production, such as chickens getting injected with growth promoters and cows being confined in cramped metal boxes.

Not really an ideal, healthy, and sustainable setup, right? 

… but wait. There’s more!

Towards the end of the video, the narrative took a positive turn as the scarecrow returned home and had an epiphany. After that scene, he was shown harvesting natural vegetables from his small farm, symbolized by picking a red pepper—the logo of Chipotle—and establishing a burrito business with products made with natural ingredients.

The conclusion of the commercial conveyed a message close to Chipotle’s ethos: 

“Cultivate a Better World.” 

This underscored Chipotle’s commitment to addressing concerns related to industrial agriculture.

Meanwhile, the animated video’s companion, “The Scarecrow” game, was an adventure game specifically designed for Apple users. Like the animated commercial, this educational game revolved around the story of a scarecrow striving to offer a natural alternative to processed food.

The game was crafted to enlighten users on the process of making processed food and how it can be rectified by opting for high-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients. Users had the opportunity to learn about food production as they navigated through the game.

Photo from: AppPicker

Was Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” campaign effective?

The campaign received both praise and criticism from the general public. Some critics even accused the company of misleading people and being unfair in depicting farming in the U.S.

… but despite the mixed reactions from the public, Chipotle stood firm in its beliefs and values. The brand also succeeded in initiating discussions about sustainable and healthy food production!

Take a look at the campaign’s results:

  • The animated video campaign on YouTube garnered 5.6 million views within its first week of release.
  • “The Scarecrow” game achieved a total of 300,000 downloads five days after it was launched.
  • The overall campaign generated more than 614 million PR impressions.
  • Chipotle’s brand awareness rate in the U.S. increased from 64% to 70% in just one week after the campaign’s release.
  • The campaign sparked various conversations across 17 social media platforms during its first month.

Additionally, the campaign received prestigious awards at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity:

  • Grand Prix Award under the Integrated Multi-Platform Campaign category
  • Grand Prix Award under the Digital & Social: Use of Digital Platforms category
  • Gold Award under the Craft: Storytelling category
  • Gold Award under the Craft: Animation/Motion Graphics category
  • Gold Award under the Sectors: Retail and Restaurants category
  • Gold Award under the Practices & Specialisms: Brand Voice, including strategic Storytelling category
  • Bronze Award under the Craft: Use of Video category

Great job, Chipotle! These results and accolades show your unique commercial and mobile advergame effectively conveyed your message far and wide!


Today’s guerrilla marketing feature teaches us the following lessons about promoting a brand:

  • Advergame is a unique and engaging way of promoting new products or conveying brand messages to target consumers. You can utilize this to elevate your marketing game and take a break from the usual commercials or advertising techniques. Chipotle succeeded in employing this strategy as it was able to elicit thousands of reactions from the target audience.
  • Embracing a marketing strategy that delivers a deep, compelling message helps in engaging people. This not only captivates audiences during an advertisement but also sparks discussions. Chipotle showcased this as social media discussions on food production bolstered the brand’s integrity, despite limited exposure in the animated video and game.
  • Staying true to your brand’s slogan will benefit your company in the long term. Chipotle was able to re-establish its commitment to the slogan, “Food With Integrity” through “The Scarecrow” campaign. Additionally, the firm adherence to its brand motto has solidified Chipotle’s identity as a healthy fast-casual restaurant brand. 

We hope today’s article helped spark new creative ideas in you!

Remember: Guerrilla marketing offers a lot of impressive advertising tactics to help you explore your marketing creativity. With the right mix of message, creative execution, and brand identity, your campaign has higher chances of becoming a hit!

We look forward to seeing your successful guerrilla marketing campaigns!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you find this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Special Projects
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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