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Willie Nelson Does Coldplay Better Than Coldplay for Chipotle Ad

Willie Nelson, Chris Martin
Rick Diamond / Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Country legend Willie Nelson has turned in a cover of the Coldplay hit ‘The Scientist’ that’s featured in a TV commercial for the Chipotle chain of Mexican restaurants. The advertisement actually debuted online last year and went on to land at No. 2 on Adweek magazine’s year-end tally of the best commercials of 2011, but as far as we can tell, the Feb. 13 airing during the Grammys was its first on TV.

The ad, which aired directly following Coldplay’s Grammy performance of the tunes ‘Paradise’ and ‘Princess of China,’ seemed to get a better reaction than Coldplay’s set, which was widely criticized for lacking energy and for frontman Chris Martin’s off-key singing.

By contrast, Nelson’s cover of ‘The Scientist’ was praised for the endearing way it highlighted the parallels between Martin’s lyrics and the video, which used CGI animation to tell the tale of a farmer returning from industrial farming to a more sustainable, free-range approach to agriculture. The spot was directed by animator/filmmaker Johnny Kelly.

Reaction from the Twitterverse seemed to agree, with none other than Tegan and Sara taking to their Twitter page to report: “In a strange twist, Chipotle commercial that followed w/ willie singing a coldplay song captivated me more?”

Nelson’s cover is available for sale via iTunes, with proceeds benefitting The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which funds initiatives supporting family farming and sustainable agriculture.

Watch the Chipotle Commercial Featuring Willie Nelson’s Cover of Coldplay

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