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Plugged In

Chipotle channels Pixar in mesmerizing mobile game promo

Plugged In

Chipotle made a mobile game? Chipotle made a mobile game.

And it's actually pretty fun. We'll get to the game in a bit, but first there's the accompanying three-minute animated film which deserves some fawning.

We were first alerted to the clip by The Week, which called the promotional video "the most beautiful, haunting infomercial you'll ever see." We'd be hard-pressed to argue with the claim.

The animation is amazing, as well it should be. It was produced by Moonbot Studios, which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2012. The accompanying music (Fiona Apple singing Willy Wonka's "Pure Imagination") is appropriately creepy. And though not a word of dialogue is said, the promo/infomercial manages to be genuinely stirring -- no small feat.

In it, a lone scarecrow attempts to produce food that is wholesome under the nose of the dystopian food factory next door. In case you miss the symbolism: Nice scarecrow doing good equals Chipotle. Big, scary factory equals everybody else.

A big reason why the clip works on an emotional level could be the fact that it contains very little branding to get in the way. "Chipotle's name shows up — in small print — only in the game's introduction, and its logo is displayed only after the video is over," USA Today reported.

Now, the game. In it, you control the scarecrow that stars in the aforementioned video. You attempt to negotiate a dystopian factory of food production, rescue animals, and work on a farm. It's nonviolent, nice to look at, and easily accessible.

Is it the greatest game of all time? No. But it's a solid and surprisingly fun title that has so far earned an average of four stars in Apple's App store. Oh, and if you unlock all the levels in the game and score at least three stars on each, you just might win a free burrito. Score!

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