Of all the people and companies that Frank Ocean could have told to "f--k off," the usually PR-friendly Chipotle would not have been our first bet. However, with thousands of dollars at stake, the singer feels justified – even if the burrito chain disagrees.
Chipotle is suing Frank Ocean for backing out of a $425,000 deal to record a song for a short film promoting responsibly raised food. Apparently the singer wanted to appear in the anti-factory farming commercial if there was no sign that the commercial was, in fact, advertising for the burrito chain.
Last year, Chipotle tapped Ocean to record a remake of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However, on the day he was supposed to deliver his recording, the singer backed out of the deal.
According to reports, Ocean withdrew from the project after seeing an early cut of the film that featured the Chipotle logo. "When Frank was asked to participate in this project, Chipotle's representatives told him that the thrust of the campaign was to promote responsible farming. There was no Chipotle reference or logo in the initial presentation, and Chipotle told Frank that was an intentional element of the campaign," said a letter to Chipotle from Ocean's legal team. "Frank was also promised that he'd have the right to approve the master and all advertising."
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Fiona Apple went on to sing the cover of "Pure Imagination" for the short film, which has over 12 million views on YouTube and has been praised for its minimal branding.
Ocean has taken to his Tumblr to post his two cents on the lawsuit. The singer first cryptically posted a linked to Wikipedia's entry on "defamation," before uploading the more straightforward image of a check for $212,500 – the amount he was paid after signing onto the Chipotle campaign. The memo section of the check to a redacted company reads, simply, "F--K OFF."
Chipotle's unconventional anti-factory farming marketing campaign has helped craft the company's image as the environmentally friendly, fast-casual chain of choice. The burrito most recently promoted their brand of sustainability with the recent comedy series, 'Farmed and Dangerous.' While the series has made waves for the lack of Chipotle product placement, don't expect Frank Ocean to guest star any time soon.