Chipotle Taps Johnny Kelly for an Animated Short

One of the reasons I like Chipotle is their emphasis on humanely raised animals. Whether raising meat can ever be as idyllic or beautiful as depicted in this new stop motion short called Back to the Start is open to debate, but it’s an undeniably attractive piece of advertising. It was directed by designed by London-based Johnny Kelly whose hand-made approach to the art form is a perfect match for Chipotle’s message. Like George Pal’s Puppetoons, Kelly knows how to animate stylized geometric forms with organic appeal.

Behind-the-scenes production photos on Johnny Kelly’s Flickr account.

Making of video and credits after the jump:

Client: Chipotle
Agency: CAA and Chipotle
Title: Back To The Start

Production Company: Nexus
Nexus Director: Johnny Kelly
Nexus Exec Producer: Cedric Gairard , Chris O’Reilly Charlotte Bavasso
Nexus Producer: Liz Chan
Nexus Production Managers: Claire Thompson, Alistair Pratten

Director of Photography: Matt Day
Camera Assistant: Max Halstead
Model Assistant: Joe James
Electrician: Aldo Camileri
Model Rigger: Gary Faulkner
Character Animator: Gary Cureton
Set Animator: Matthew Cooper
Compositors: Alasdair Brotherston, John Taylor
Production Designer: Graham Staughton
Art Department: Gordon Allen, Ben Côté, Joe Kirton
Studio Manager: Elizabeth Day
Models: Bob @ Artem

Music Supervision: David Leinhart at Duotone Audio
Music Producers: Justin Stanley and Doyle Bramhall
Content Manager: Liz Graves
Artist: Willie Nelson
Sound Design: Barnaby Templer @ Fonic


  • andres

    This is a really great piece! Dare I say, as great as their corn salsa.

  • http://pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    I hadn’t heard of Johnny Kelly before this post. Very nice work. The Chipotle spot is great and I agree with the comparisons to George Pal’s Puppetoons. I also enjoyed his “Play” video. Click on the link after the Chipotle spot.

  • Michael F.

    That looks very well made; I really like the designs on all the animals. Too bad there aren’t too many Chipotles around Raleigh, there’s lots of Moe’s instead (no problem with that!).

  • http://bionicwrist.blogspot.com/ Crystal

    I simply adore this to no end! The whole thing is just so charming and well done! Love! Oh, and I seriously want one of those tiny pigs!

  • Richard Tom

    That’s really terrific. All that and Willie Nelson too!

  • http://hobsonproductions.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I love Kelly’s designs of the animals especially of the chickens and pigs.

  • Chango

    Beautifully done! I love it.
    But sadly, it is just Greenwashing

  • http://www.bobloganillustration.blogspot.com Bob Logan

    MY goodness, that was beautiful!

  • Juz

    Nice ‘animation’ but in terms of content or analysis of the issue it is ridiculous/surface level.

    It’s ironic that you mention eating at these ‘humanely raised animal’ places, they are just as ineffective at grasping fully the economic and ecological problems the planet is facing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpAMbpQ8J7g
    (These RSA pieces actually grasp issues and reveal lines of thought which are hidden from mainstream debate).

    Surely this issue is rather too complicated and important to be simply sold as a consumerist wet dream?

    Farming still uses chemicals, pollutes the land/destroys the soil, still uses transport etc etc… So really this animation is only saying ‘animals should be out in the sun’… Big deal.

    I guess what I dislike is that the piece raises some great questions in a simple and clear/visual way. This is fantastic! But then unfortunately attempts to answer them in such a way that reveals absolutely no real grasp on the problem/debate (with manipulative music).

    • http://liesjekraai.blogspot.com/ Liesje

      You do realize that this isn’t necessarily Kelly’s vision when it comes to content? Chipotle’s Board o’ Directors are in-charge of what the messaging it. It’s a job when all is said and done. They paid to get something, they got it.

      I do agree with you that it does raise a lot of concerns outside of the ‘animals stuffed in a crate and pumped up with chemicals’ issue – I too am a vegetarian as I assume you are. But guess what? This post isn’t about us. It’s about the people who enjoy eating meat and are considering whether or not to chose Chipotle over Taco Bell.

      The piece is beautifully art directed and the style is charming.

  • 2011 Adult

    Hey, I go to Chipot-le-way many times and never got food poisoning! But eh.

    His work, like many other stop-motion pieces, give me that warm feeling of playing with your building blocks when you were a kid. :D

  • Jeff

    Isn’t Chipotle owned by McDonalds?

    • amid

      No, it isn’t, and if you had typed that same sentence into Google, you could have learned the answer yourself.

  • http://tequilawhisperer.com Lippy

    I would be PROUD to say, “I made this”. Beautiful!

  • Lorelei

    Wow, that was beautifully realized!

  • E. Nygma

    Did anybody else feel like crying after it? I did for some weird reason. It was powerful! I laughed at the Willie Nelson cover at first and then loved it by the end of the spot. The Coldplay version would not have worked for this…had to be Willie!

    This is a beautiful little piece from a great company!