Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean Sued by Chipotle Over Ad Campaign

Chipotle is taking Frank Ocean to court. The Mexican fast-food chain has sued the R&B singer for taking money and backing out of a deal to record a song for its ad campaign.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chipotle commissioned Ocean via talent agency CAA to record a track called “Pure Imagination,” from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, for its “Scarecrow” marketing campaign to promote local and sustainably-sourced food.

Ocean was paid $212,500 after signing onto the campaign in July 2013, with another $212,500 to be paid after he delivered the song.

Prior to his participation, he was shown an incomplete version of the animated film his song would accompany. Chipotle says the version Ocean viewed was roughly 80 percent complete and did not yet include the Chipotle logo. However, Ocean was reportedly informed that the project was an ad for the restaurant chain.

On August 7, 2013, the day Ocean was supposed to deliver the song, he informed Chipotle that he would not participate in the campaign.

The following week, Ocean’s legal team sent a letter to Chipotle explaining his withdrawal.

“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,” the letter read. “There was no Chipotle reference or logo in the initial presentation, and Chipotle told Frank that was an intentional element of the campaign. Frank was also promised that he’d have the right to approve the master and all advertising.”

Chipotle denies those were the terms of the deal and is suing Ocean for the $212,500 it paid him as well as additional damages to be determined at trial.

Fiona Apple ended up recording the song for the ad, which was released in September.