Still from “Speed Chaser,” a Chevy ad produced for a 2014 Mofilm contest
Here’s your Fun Fact of the Day: The term “Crowdsourcing” was coined in 2005 by Jeff Howe, a contributing editor for Wired magazine. During a pitch meeting, Howe said he wanted to write about companies that were using amateurs from the Internet to produce content that would normally be created by professionals. Another Wired Editor, Mark Robinson, said “Hmmm … it’s like they’re outsourcing to the crowd.” Howe automatically condensed the phrase and jokingly declared “it’s crowdsourcing.” Six months later Wired published Howe’s article, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” and the author’s joke immediately became the accepted term for the trend.
We’ve come a long way since 2005. In the last 9 years, Doritos has run their Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest eight times, major brands have bought hundreds of low-budget “homemade” ads and at least a dozen crowdsourced video sites have been launched. For years professional ad makers looked down their noses at all the desperate “amateurs’ out there who were willing to enter video contests and produce work for free. But after 9 long years, the war between the pros and the semi-pros may finally be over. According to Mashable, the ad industry has “made peace” with crowdsourcing. But it’s not like they had much choice in the matter. Major brands like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Frito-Lay, Chevy, Microsoft and McDonald’s (to name just a few) have fallen in love with the fun, quirky, low-cost, high-quality ads that “the crowd” has been able to produce. So I guess professional ad makers and agencies have finally realized it was time to stop hatin’ and start participatin’.
Pro Tip: Never use the Crash the Super Bowl contest as a chance to see your buddy’s girlfriend topless
NOTE: This is an updated version of an article I originally published way back in 2011. Last year I saw these same ideas get used over and over and over so I figured this story deserved a re-post. Enjoy!
It’s October 18th which means we’re now just 22 days away from the deadline for the Crash the Super Bowl contest. So it’s Crunch Time, folks! (pun intended) But before you rush out and start filming, the first step in making a great Doritos commercial is research. Obviously, you should watch all the entries that won the previous installments of the Crash but you should also try and figure out which concepts have already been done to death. So I am going to do you a gigantic favor and list the Top 4 most over-used Crash the Super Bowl ideas! Every year, Dortios gets tons of videos that have almost identical plots and gags. The ideas might be new to the person who wrote the script but to the judges they are tired and totally unoriginal. So if you want to stand out from the crowd, here are four concepts that you need to avoid. - 1. Doritos as “paper” footballs
Hey, have you ever noticed that a Dorito kind of looks like a paper football? If so, you’re not alone because apparently a lot of people have noticed that! Over the last 10 years, I bet fritolay has received hundreds of CTSB entries that featured Doritos being used as “paper footballs.” I’m guessing this idea is so popular because a paper football is about the only small, triangular object most people can think of. What’s crazy about this particular idea is that pretty much every Paper Football entry has the same plot. There is a tense and dramatic stand off between two competitors. The chip is “kicked” in slow motion but at the last second, there’s a twist! Someone jumps into frame and blocks the kick by catching the chip in their mouth. - 2. Dressing up in a giant Doritos costume
This weekend, dozens of filmmakers across the country will go into their garages and apply the finishing touches to their homemade, giant Doritos costumes. Some of them will just be a single, orange sheet of poster board. Others will be meticulous, high quality suits that are made of foam and finished with an air-brushing of realistic orange and brown paint. But if Frito-lay hasn’t picked a CTSB finalist that featured a guy dressed as a Dorito by now, they are never going to. That’s because no matter how much work a person puts into their Dorito costume, the gag is just too easy. Think of it like this; if Bud Light made a Super Bowl commercial where the joke was that the characters were in homemade Bud Light suits, how do you think that commercial would do on the USA Today ad meter? - 3. Zombies!
This idea has been totally done to death. (Pun intended again!) If you head to the Crash the Super Bowl gallery and watch 50 videos in a row, I bet you’d see at least one zombie-themed entry. In fact, I just searched the gallery for the word “zombie” and there are already four submissions with the word zombie in the title!
It’s easy to understand why Dortios gets so many zombie videos though. Zombies are super popular, the costumes are really easy to make. I’ll break down a typical zombie story for you; a group of friends are running from hungry zombies. The friends get trapped and the zombies attack. But they don’t eat the people. It turns out one of them has Doritos and that’s what the zombies were after the whole time! Oh but once the Doritos run out, the zombies then turn on the people. The whole plot is so popular among video contest filmmakers that I did an entire blog post about the “Zombie Fake Out” trope. So even though fake blood and zombie make-up is probably 20% off right now at Walmart, resist the temptation to shoot a chip commercial about the undead. - 4. A “Sexy” Doritos Seduction
Note: This video is entitled “Doritos Super Bowl XLVII commercial – 2012 Winner” but it didn’t win. Some idiots just name their videos “Crash the Super Bowl winner!” to help them get extra views.
Let’s end on an over-done idea that I don’t mind so much; the Sexy Doritos seduction. These entries always play out the same way. A husband gets home after a hard day at work to find a trail of Doritos on the floor. He follows the trail and it leads to the bedroom. He opens the door to find his wife laying naked in bed…with only Doritos covering up her girly bits! Of course, sometimes the concept is flipped around and it’s a goofy looking dude laying in a bed full of Doritos. Either way, this gag is extremely common. Shoot an entry like this and all you’ll get for your troubles is a set of orange sheets. BONUS EXAMPLE: Here’s one more “sexy” entry that features a woman bathing in tub of Doritos for absolutely no reason. Remember, if you’re going to make your buddy’s hot girlfriend get naked so you can cover her in Doritos you should at least come up with a story for your video. Just filming a girl in a tub of Doritos is exploitative and boring.
If you’ve ever shot a Crash the Super Bowl entry about any of the ideas I just listed, I’m sorry if I offended you! Trust me, I definitely understand what it’s like to work hard on a video contest entry only to later realize that it was kind of unoriginal. But hopefully this post will help a few filmmakers avoid common, over-done ideas that simply don’t have much chance of winning.
I was screwing around on Reddit today when I came across one of the sexiest videos I’ve ever seen on the web. No, it wasn’t an r/gonewild post. It was product demo of some magical contraption named The Gaff Gun. If you’re an A/V nerd like me, you should probably take your pants off before you watch this video because it might make you sh*t a whole pile of bricks:
This thing almost seems too good to be true. I used to do corporate A/V and like 20% of my job was taping down cables. I wanna buy one of these things with all my heart but my brain is telling me that I would only use it a few times a year. My A/V days are long over and I almost never need to tape cables down during a video shoot. So I really can’t justify spending $199 on a magical gaff tape machine. But if I ever get back into the A/V game this thing will be at the top of my Christmas list. But all you DPs, Gaffers, Best Boys etc should take note: If I was working on a set and a crew member whipped out a Gaff Gun and went ziiiiiiiiip down a whole line of cable I would be instantly amazed. So this thing might be worth the price if you’re hoping to make a good first impression on set. -
I bet they’re thinking about ideas for short films
If I were a 14-year old girl I’d probably love Twilight. But I’m not a 14 year old girl. I’m a grown-ass man. So Twilight is totally foreign to me. I know there’s a vampire guy named Edward and he loves that girl in the photo and they’re mad at a werewolf or something but that’s about all I’ve been able to pick up from all the Twilight trailers I’ve seen over the years. Never the less, I do recognize that Twilight is a gigantic deal to a lot of people out there. So here’s a bit of news should get Twi-hards AND video contest fans excited: Lionsgate is teaming up with Facebook and Tongal to produce a series of at least 5 new, fan-made short films that will be set in the Twilight universe. Most of the details for this contest are still under wraps but here’s some basic info from the New York Times:
Lions Gate and Stephenie Meyer, the creator of the vampires-and-werewolves “Twilight” saga, on Tuesday announced plans to select five aspiring female directors to make short films based on “Twilight” characters. The mini-movies, financed by Lions Gate and its production partners, will be shown exclusively on Facebook next year.
The short film series, called “The Storytellers — New Creative Voices of ‘The Twilight Saga,’ ” has the backing of Women in Film, an organization devoted in part to ending a shortage of female directors.
A group of female panelists, including the “Twilight” actress Kristen Stewart and Ms. Meyer, will select the winning shorts and mentor participants, Lions Gate said. Other panelists include the actresses Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer and Julie Bowen; Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first “Twilight” movie; the film producer Cathy Schulman; and Jennifer Lee, who co-directed “Frozen.”
Certain contest details, including the length of the shorts, are still being worked out and will be made available on Tongal.com, a crowdsourcing platform. A spokeswoman for Lions Gate declined to say how much the studio would spend, but added that it would be a “significant” amount, at least by short-film standards. The cast members of the “Twilight” movies are not expected to appear in the short films.
From what I’ve read it sounds like this project will be run in phases just like any other Tongal contest. If you’re interested in pitching an idea you should check out this placeholder page and sign up to receive an announcement when the contest is officially launched: https://tongal.com/twilight
Last week, Ad Age posted a short video clip of Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Frito Lay North America, Ann Mukherjee, that included some very interesting tidbits about the Crash the Super Bowl contest. According to Mukherjee, the return of The Crash is never a sure-thing. In fact, the marketing team for Doritos develops an entire back-up strategy for the Super Bowl just in case their research tells them it’s time to retire the contest.
Mukherjee also says that she wants the CTSB contest to be “on top when we stop” so they “can go on to the next big innovation and the next big thing for our consumers.” What does that mean? Well, I think it means the Crash the Super Bowl contest won’t be around forever. In fact, I have a feeling that next year’s contest will be the last installment. It will be the 10th time Doritos has run the contest and 10 seems like a pretty natural stopping point.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never scare me!
Hey everybody, Happy October! The leaves are finally starting to change, store shelves are filled with gigantic bags of candy and shrubs all across suburbia are decorated with unrealistic amounts of fake spiderweb. Truly this is the most magical time of year. October is kinda extra-special in Chicago because everyone feels like they need to get in a little more fun before another brutal winter descends upon the region. I’ve already got plans for every Friday and Saturday this month. I even got my Halloween costume already! Basically I’m going as myself circa 1980. Remember those old, plastic Halloween costumes that they used to sell at grocery stores? You know, they came with a plastic mask and a plastic smock and the smock always had a picture of the character on it? Well I just order a sweet, 30 year old Darth Vader costume off eBay. It only cost me $4.50! Obviously I’m going to have to alter it a bit but I think I think I’ll look like the king of Halloween when I show up to a party rockin’ this baller outfit.
Costumes and candy and parties and pretty dead leaves aren’t the only reasons I love October. This is also a great time of year for video contests. The Crash the Super Bowl contest is back plus there are some fun Halloween-themed video contests going on now. One of the best ones is Project Ed’s annual “Scary Words Contest.” Here are the details:
Would you walk through a graveyard at midnight? Would you do it on Halloween? Would you try to talk to spirits with a Ouija board? Some people can’t get enough of scary stories and eerie places. Others hope never to meet a ghost. Some believe that on Halloween, as the nights grow longer, the veil between the worlds gets thinner — so thin that a black cat might show you where to cross over … would you follow it?
Look at the eight words below. Choose one. Take a close look at the definition in the brief to craft a story that conveys the word’s definition. Then, make a video, one minute or less, that effectively and creatively teaches the meaning of the word you chose. Are you up to the challenge?
In this challenge, choose one of these eight words: incantation, chimera, fiend, apparition, diabolical, unhallowed, wretch, spectre.
Your video must:
Last no longer than one minute
Define only one word, using the definitions provided
Display, at appropriate points, the word, its part of speech and definition, and an example sentence
If you enter this contest and win the grand prize, I hope you’ll spend the money wisely. I suggest you wait until November 1st to buy $1,000 worth of Halloween candy. It will all be 50% off by then so you’ll get twice as much!