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Chipotle chief on The Scarecrow and why Fiona Apple's take on "Pure Imagination" was perfect

A few years back, Chipotle premiered Back to the Start, a two-and-a-half minute animated short. The evocative clip, which focuses on the practice of factory farming and the necessity of a sustainable farming system, was imbued with an underlying sense of poignancy thanks to Willie Nelson's stirring version of the "The Scientist" by Coldplay, which served as the soundtrack. Last week, Chipotle introduced another powerful piece with The Scarecrow, and this time it's Fiona Apple providing the pathos with her affecting take of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

See also: Chipotle unveils Back to the Start, a short film about sustainable farming

Apple is a far cry from Willy Wonka's Gene Wilder, but when Chipotle premiered its latest ad, produced by Moonbot Studios last week, it was Apple's voice that rang out in a striking rendition of "Pure Imagination," lush with the ever-changing undertones that epitomize her sound. "We wanted a modern figure doing something classic," explains Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's chief marketing officer. "In Back to the Start, we used Willie Nelson, a legend on a modern song -- this time, we felt it worked to reverse that."

Crumpacker wasn't totally sold on "Pure Imagination" at first, he says. He had listened to the Gene Wilder against the landscape of the film, and the message Wilder conveyed seemed too bright. "Gene Wilder was happy -- it wasn't doing enough," he reasons. "It needed tone contrast; it needed angst. Fiona Apple was the artist who could make this happen. I thought it might be a gamble; when she records something, she 'll give you what she wants, not vice versa. I respected her for that, and in the end, the recording we got from her was perfect."

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Samantha Alviani
Contact: Samantha Alviani

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