"Questions of science, science and progress, don't speak as loud as my heart." This is just one line from Willie Nelson's latest song, a cover of Coldplay's 2001 hit, 'The Scientist.' But unlike past recordings from the country star, this song – and accompanying short film – are prime examples of how social media can be used for social good.
The subject of the animated YouTube video is food: where it comes from and how it's made. More specifically, it's the story of a farmer who turns his organic farm into an industrial pig factory. Despite promises of profit, he realizes that he made a mistake and reverts back to a more sustainable future.
Towards the end of a video, a Chipotle Mexican Grill truck rolls in for a pick-up, just near a sign that says, "Cultivate a Better World," indicating that efforts to produce the film extend beyond Nelson himself.
While the corporate branding seems out of place, I soon discovered – after a little digging – that Chipotle works closely with farmers to ensure the business sources organic and local foods when possible. The U.S.-based burrito and taco chain has more than 900 stores and this latest initiative aims to raise awareness about The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a non-profit organization in support sustainable agriculture. If you download Willie Nelson's song, just over half of the money from the 99 cent download goes to help this cause.
I can only hope that this video is a sign that more companies will use social media for social good. While I appreciate viral ad campaigns like The Old Spice guy, for example, there's lots of room in the online world for businesses to develop campaigns that reach significant audiences and help make our world a better place at the same time.