Chipotle Sues Frank Ocean For Backing Out of Ad Campaign

The Mexican restaurant says it paid the singer $212,500 for a song he never delivered.
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Frank Ocean

Chipotle is suing Frank Ocean.

The Mexican food restaurant says it paid Ocean $212,500 to lend his vocal skills to an ad campaign, and that the musician backed out without delivering the song.

According to Chipotle's suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the restaurant struck a deal with Ocean via CAA to record a track called "Pure Imagination" for a marketing campaign named the Scarecrow. The suit says Chipotle and CAA discussed the project with Ocean, telling him the campaign was to promote local and sustainably-sourced food, while warning of the dangers of industrial farming. Ocean was informed Chipotle was funding the campaign, and that it was an advertisement for the restaurant.

Read the complaint here.

Ocean agreed to come onboard after he was shown 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 at the end of the film.

In July 2013, Ocean was paid $212,500, with another $212,500 to come after he delivered the track. But on August 7, 2013 – the deadline for Ocean to deliver the song – he informed Chipotle he would not participate in the project, according to the suit.

The lawsuit includes a letter Ocean's legal team sent Chipotle on Aug. 15, 2013.

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"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," the letter reads in part. "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. It is suing Ocean for the $212,500 it paid him as well as for additional damages to be determined at trial.

A rep for Ocean declined to comment. CAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.