A consumer rights advocate published a full-page advertisement on the New York Post as a visual attack against Mexican food chain Chipotle, igniting a spark on social media.
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) produced the ad depicting a smiling overweight man, naked from the waist up, flexing one arm while resting the other on his tummy.
The CCF is an organization that describes itself as "dedicated to protecting consumer choices and promoting common sense." In its ad, the center blatantly criticized the food chain by urging consumers to visit ChubbyChipotle.com, where it called Chipotle executives as "fast food hypocrites".
The ad also emphasized that by eating two 'all natural' Chipotle burritos a week, consumers could gain 40 pounds in a year.
The ad highlighted the fact that Chipotle's marketing is highly unscientific and harms animal welfare.
The center believes that Chipotle holds a lot of misconceptions about their food and that the center's mission is to face these misconceptions head on.
Chipotle announced its commitment to use the most ethical ingredients and to stop serving genetically modified organisms. It also vowed to stop serving pork, especially when its supplier failed to meet the standards set by the food chain.
CCF takes these facets bit-by-bit and argues that there is no reason to believe that GMOs are unhealthy. Their website also states that Chipotle's "Food With Integrity" slogan is completely opportunistic.
"They've built up this idea that somehow their food is better for you, that it's healthier for you," Will Coggin, director of research at CCF, said. "We're not going to take it."
Meanwhile, the Mexican food chain is certain that the ad is a deliberate effort to smear their establishment.
Chipotle's spokesperson, Chris Arnold, believes that the CCF is an agenda-driven group backed by unknown parties. However, the CCF denied allegations about being hired by one person or a rival chain.
In defense of Chipotle, Zacks.com writer Andrew Steele writes that the downfall of the CCF's criticism is its own words, expressing the fact that the individual's health rests primarily on the individual. He said that putting the blame on a company's marketing for their food becomes "an excuse for the individual to neglect self-control".
Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr