Instead of throwing millions of dollars into a single Super Bowl ad, Chipotle is spending its advertising money differently this February. In what's probably Chipotle's most outrageous attempt to get customers to think about the meat they eat, the food company will on February 17 debut a new show on Hulu called Farmed and Dangerous.
The show will run as a four-episode series focusing on a fictional industrial agriculture company that comes up with a dubious plan to feed cows petroleum-based animal pellets. Those pellets save the company money, but they also make the cows explode. Calamity ensues, featuring Twin Peaks star Ray Wise and other characters, and the audience indirectly learns about pressing issues facing the food industry, such as the reliance on fossil fuels and the overuse of antibiotics on animals.
The show was filmed in collaboration with the production studio Piro, but Chipotle and its food are rarely mentioned. According to Time, the chain is only referenced once in four episodes, and Chipotle isn't mentioned in the opening or closing credits, despite having a big hand in the show's development. This is a big change from Chipotle's other video content, like the insanely viral Scarecrow video the company made as a promotion for its educational mobile game, but this show seems to want the message, rather than the messenger, front and center. Rather than airing a commercial, something many people would tune out, Chipotle wants to put the message inside something viewers would actually want to watch.
But exploding cows are crazy, even by internet standards. The trailer for the show isn't even that bad in terms of acting, but then you remember it's about exploding cows, and it kind of falls apart. There might have been a cleverer way to talk to people about the terrors of factory farming, but who knows — maybe the show's ridiculousness will be an escape for viewers that also gets them thinking about questionable food practices. Either way, we just hope no cows were harmed in the process.