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How much should you spend on your 2015 Crash the Super Bowl entry?

The 8th installment of Doritos’ annual Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest is now officially open and accepting submissions.  But you don’t need to run out and film your ad this weekend.  The deadline is still 54 days away.  That means there are eight saturdays and 8 sundays between now and 11:59PM CT on November 9th.  There are no advantages to being the first person to submit an entry; in fact, it seems like most of the winners submit their videos at the last minute.  So if you’re planning to enter the contest this year you should slow down and take a few weeks to carefully plan your production.

After you come up with an idea you’ll need to decide what your budget is going to be.  When you do, keep in mind that the goal here is to create a commercial good enough to air on TV.  The reality of the Crash the Super Bowl contest is that most of the “fan-made” ads that reach the finals were created by professional or semi-professional producers, directors, cinematographers and editors.  Every once in a while a true low-budget filmmaker will make it to the SuperBowl.  For example in 2012, “Man’s Best Friend” made the CTSB finals, won the online vote, aired during the super bowl and won the one million dollar USA Today Ad Meter bonus despite the fact that it only cost $20 to produce:


Unfortunately, this is a better example of the type of video that typically makes the finals:


Sling Baby” made the top five the same year as Man’s Best Friend.  A few days after the Super Bowl, the ad won an online poll (that looked rather easy to manipulate) so it also earned a Million Dollar bonus.  As you can probably tell, this was no “amateur” production.  It was created by a team of professional filmmakers in LA and cost $2,700 to produce.  Here’s a full crew list that I pulled from the old “Vote For Sling Baby” website:

DIRECTOR – Kevin T. Willson
EXEC. PRODUCER – Jeff Edwards
PRODUCER – Jason Dennis
WRITERS – Kevin T. Willson, Grant Nieporte, Sean Gaffney, Kevin Chesley
1ST AD – Heather Chalecki
2ND AD – Andy Peters
DP – Bernard Evans
1st AC – Jacqueline Stahl
1st AC – Trevor Smith
2nd AC – Dustin Miller
MEDIA MANAGER – Shane Sorenson
GAFFER – Edwin Kim
KEY GRIP – Becky Train
GRIP/ELECTRIC – Jay Castillo
GRIP/ELECTRIC – John Christensen
GRIP/ELECTRIC – Armando Crespo
ART DIRECTOR – Jalisco Wayne
SOUND MIXER – Matt Burgette
WARDROBE – Kristina Van Dyk
P.A./BTS – Tory Nelson
P.A. – Patrick Phillips
BTS – – David Reynosa
EDITOR – Bob Perkins
VFX – Justin Folk
SOUND DESIGN – Bob Perkins, Justin Folk
COLOR CORRECTION – Blacklist Productions
SOCIAL MEDIA – Nate Daniels

Frito-Lay will probably receive around 5,000 submissions to the CTSB contest but I’m guessing only a handful will have one Production Assistant on their crew list, let alone two.  The marketing team behind The Crash enthusiastically push the idea that any “average joe” with a funny idea can win this contest.  But 9 years of history show us that this just isn’t the case.  Even the guy who shot “Man’s Best Friend” for $20 was a professional filmmaker who already owned all the equipment he needed to produce his ad.  And if you think that $2,700 is a lot of money to spend on a video contest entry, I have some bad news for you; Sling Baby‘s budget was actually kind of small.  The director of that ad, Kevin Willson has managed to make the finals 4 times now and some of his other entries cost upwards of $5,000.  (Including the 2014 runner-up, “Cowboy Kid.“)

When Doritos announces their picks for the finals in January they usually distribute an electronic press kit to the media that includes the budget for all the selected submissions.  Here now are the five 2014 finalists and how much each ad cost to create:

TIME MACHINE. Budget: $300:

OFFICE THIEF. Budget: $1,500-2,000:

Breakroom Ostrich. Budget: $1,700:


COWBOY KID. Budget: $5,000:

FINGER CLEANER. Budget: $7,000 (U.S.):


Even though Time Machine was the cheapest finalist of the bunch, it went on to win the million dollar grand prize.   However, that $300 price tag is a little misleading.  The director shot Time Machine with a 2.5K Black Magic Cinema Camera and two Rokinon Cinema Prime lenses.  That’s a very pricey set-up but it helped his “low budget” commercial look good enough to air on HD TVs all around the world.

Does this mean that only well-equipped, well-connected, properly-financed filmmakers have a shot an making the CTSB finals?  Well, I hate to say it but yeah….it pretty much does mean that.  The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event of the year.  Doritos isn’t going to pay three million dollars to run a 30-second ad that doesn’t look and sound professional.  It hasn’t happened in 9 years and it’s not going to happen in 2015.  That means that if you want to win this contest you’re going to need two things; a great idea AND the resources necessary to create a good-looking TV commercial.



Shocking News! Project ED wants you to create a video about Ben Franklin!


Why so serious, Ben?

Let’s cut to the chase:  Benjamin Franklin was dope as sh*t.  He is honestly and sincerely my hero.  He was brilliant and hilarious and imaginative and resourceful and brave.  He loved freedom, beer, women and partying.  Even after 237 years, Franklin still stands as the quintessential “American.”  And you know what else he was?  Benjamin Franklin was a borderline-mad scientist.  We all learned about his inventions when we were in grade school; the potbelly stove, bifocals, swim fins and the lighting rod.  But did you know that Ben Franklin also “discovered” static electricity??  Obviously people had been getting shocked by static charges since the beginning of human history but Franklin was the first person to figure out what was causing these little zaps of “Electric Fire.”  His theories and discoveries changed the way scientists thought about electricity and in a sense, his work helped create the modern wired world we all live in today.

Project ED is celebrating B-Frank’s amazing achievements with the “Ben Franklin and the Electric Fire video contest.”  Students and filmmakers are being ask to…

…explain what’s happening when we experience static electricity, and how important Ben Franklin’s breakthroughs were in understanding it. In a video that is no longer than 90 seconds you must:

- Demonstrate a discharge of static electricity by one person shocking another.

- Use the interaction to expose the definition of static electricity and demonstrate how static charges are built up.

- Tell us how Ben Franklin discovered how static electricity works

One “adult” will win $1,000 plus one student will also win $1,000.  There are some $200 runner up/viewer’s choice prizes too.  Project ED just extended the deadline on this contest so you have until October 6th to shoot and submit your entries.  Good luck and make Big Ben proud!



The Crash is Back! Doritos reveals their plans for the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest

My dream job?  Eating Doritos.

My dream job? Eating Doritos.

Doritos has finally confirmed that the Crash the Super Bowl contest will be back for 2015, and instead of “going global,” this year the contest will be going “Universal”  The winning filmmaker will receive a million dollars plus they’ll get a year-long “dream job” at Universal studios.  Here’s FritoLay’s official announcement video:

The Crash the Super Bowl site is now live and the official rules have been posted.  (  Here are some of the highlights:

-  FritoLay will begin accepting entries on September 12th, 2014.

The deadline is November 9th, 2014.

-  The contest will be semi-global again this year.  You can enter if you live in any of these countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and The United States of Awesome.

-  All entries must be uploaded and submitted via youtube.

-  This year the CTSB judges will pick and publish 30 semi-finalists in late November.  Every semi-finalist (that doesn’t go on to win a bigger prize) will win $1,000.

-  On January 5th, 2015, FritoLay will announce UP TO 10 FINALISTS.  (Rather than the usual 5!)  All 10 finalists will get to go to the Super Bowl and 8 of the 10 finalists will receive $25,000 each.

-  The “First Place winner ” will be selected by a panel of judges from FritoLay.  The winning filmmaker will receive $50,000 and their commercial MAY air during the Super Bowl.

-  The “Grand Prize Winner” will be determined by a public vote.  The winner will receive $1,000,000 and their commercial will air during the big game.  On top of that, the grand prize winner will also get a “dream job” as a consultant at Universal Studios in California.

I don’t think anyone was supposed to notice that the CTSB site was live yet.  So more details will be revealed on Thursday when the company officially announces the return of the contest.  As always, we’ll be posting lots of updates about The Crash so be sure to check back here 20 or 30 times a day for the next 5 months.



VCN turns 5!

I already ate the cake that was under this candle

I already ate the cake that was under this candle

Happy blogiversary to me!  Video Contest News is now FIVE years old.  That’s bananas, isn’t it??  If VCN was a human he’d be ready for kindergarten.  (Lucky for me VCN is just a website because I don’t have money to blow on stupid school supplies.)  It was five years ago today on September 1st, 2009 when I first registered the domain,  Even after all these years it still feels kinda weird that I run a website that people actually read.  I just checked my traffic stats and in the last 12 months, VCN had 129,000 Unique Visits and 170,000 Page Views.  Sure, about 20% of that traffic was probably spammers trying to leave the same comments about “Free V1agrxa” over and over but hey, 80% of 129K ain’t nothing to sneeze at.  Thanks to all of you for reading the site and here’s to 5 more years of!  LOL/JK.  There’s no way VCN will still be around 5 years from now.  In fact, the entire video contest “industry” will probably be collapsing soon.  By 2019, computers will be so powerful that brands will be able to cut out the middlemen (filmmakers) and generate all their ads digitally.  But that nightmarish reality is still a few years away.  So I’ll be here bloggin’ my butt off until The Computers finally render all us meatbags obsolete!



Voting is open in Lays’ 2014 “Do Us a Flavor” contest



What’s your favorite candy?  Licorice?  Milky Ways?  Gummi Bears?  Well my favorite candy are those chocolate covered marshmallow pumpkins that some stores sell around Halloween.  It’s a tough “favorite candy” because like I said, you can only get them for a few weeks a year.  Sure, most stores also sell chocolate covered marshmallow Santas, hearts and Easter eggs but they’re just not the same. Plus there are no good candy-related holidays during the summer.  So the last few months have been pretty tough for me.  But a few days ago I was at Walgreens and saw that they were already putting out their Halloween stuff.  I went to the end of the isle and there they were!  Row after row of chocolate covered marshmallow pumpkins!  I guess they’ve gotten pretty popular because there were even a bunch of new flavors like “pecan pie” and “red velvet.”

I snagged a few of these wonderful little guys and headed to the register.  While I waited in line I started thinking about all the crazy new pumpkin flavors I would inevitably try this season.  And then I looked down by the register and a very different kind of new-flavor combination caught my eye.  It was a bag of cappuccino flavored Lays potato chips.

A flash of revulsion quickly gave way to confusion; why would Lays create such a disturbing flavor of chips?  Then it hit me; this must be one of the finalists in Lays’ 2014 “Do Us a Flavor” contest.

I checked Lays’ website when I got home and it turns out that the company has already picked their four finalist flavors.  They are Cappuccino, Bacon Mac & Cheese, Wavy Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger.  All four flavors were based on ideas submitted by fans.  Lays is now producing these new combinations and though the website says that voting started in late July, this was the first time I’ve seen the chips in the wild.

The flavor that gets the most votes will win a million dollars OR 1% of the net sales generated by that flavor between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015, whichever is greater.  The other three finalists will get $50,000 each.  I think it’s safe to say that Bacon Mac & Cheese is pretty much a shoo-in but if you’d like to vote anyway, head here:  Just be aware that your votes will automatically be posted on your facebook page.

Post-Script:  I know this post has nothing to do with video contests but it’s a huge contest so I figured I’d write about it anyway.

Post Script 2:  Next time you’re at Walgreens could pick me up some marshmallow pumpkins?  I snapped a cell phone pic so feel free to use it as a reference guide.  Pumpkins from box numbers 2, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 13 will be acceptable.  Thanks.

Now that...that is "yum."

Yum?  Yes.  Yum.



When will Doritos announce the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest?


Dorito Time draws near…

VCN always sees a quick and sharp increase in traffic in late August.  All those new visitors are looking for information about the same thing; the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  So every year I post answers to a few Doritos-related FAQS:

Q:  Is Doritos running the Crash the Super Bowl contest again this year?

A:  Honestly….I have no idea!  The marketing team at FritoLay keeps all the contest details secret while they’re planning the next installment.  But I think it’s a pretty safe bet that the contest will be back for 2014-2015.  Doritos recently brought back a few of the commercials that won the CTSB contest in 2013 and 2014 (e.g. the one about the dad and daughter princess party and the one where the cowboy kid rides the dog like a horse) and I think they’re re-running those ads to kind of remind their fans that it’s almost CTSB time again.

Q:  When will Doritos announce the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest?

A:  If the contest is coming back again then FritoLay will probably announce the details in early to mid-september.  Last year they made their announcement on September 12th but the contest didn’t official open until October 8th.  The deadline for submissions was November 24th.

Q:  Do you think I should start working on my entry now?

A:  No.  People actually e-mail me and ask this question all year-round.  Some filmmakers get a good idea in their head and they want to shoot their entry weeks or months before the contest is announced.  But that’s a bad idea.  You should wait to find out if The Crash is even coming back before you shoot anything.  Plus you never know; FritoLay may decide to change the theme of the contest in some way.  It would really suck if you shot an entry about Nacho Cheese Doritos only to find out that this year the judges only want to see Cool Ranch commercials.

So that’s all I got.  You now know everything I know about the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest.  But keep checking VCN and I’ll post new information as soon as it comes in.


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