VCN Interview with Crash the Superbowl co-winner, Kyle Gerardi

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In the Doritos Skybox. From left to right: Kyle Gerardi, Nick Dimondi, Joshua Svoboda, Barrett Phillips. Not Pictured (others involved in the commercials) Wes Phillips, Dale Backus (Producers) Brian Oliver and Rosie the dog (Actors in Underdog) and Wayne Phillips (the old man Kids These Days).

Though four consumer-made Doritos commercials aired during the Superbowl back in February, the big winner of this year’s Crash the Superbowl contest were a group of friends from North Carolina who operate under the banner, 5 Point Productions. Last December, that small team of independent filmmakers learned that both entries they shot for the 2009/2010 installment of the contest made it to the finals.  When you consider that Doritos received more than 4,000 submissions this year and only picked 6 finalist videos, getting 2 of the 6 top spots is really an incredible achievement.

And if you aren’t impressed enough yet, here’s another amazing fact;  The 5 Point Productions team also WON the Crash the Superbowl contest the first year it ran in 2006/2007.

When I first heard that one team had gotten two commercials into Doritos’ “Top 6” I was stunned.  And when I realized that these guys were the same filmmakers that won the first CTSB contest I was almost ready to start screaming “shenanigans!”  But before I could even develop a decent conspiracy theory, I got a message from one of the producers of the two 5 Point entries (entitled “Kids These Days” and “Underdog”) and he explained that Doritos had no idea that the two entries were made by the same team.  It‘s easy to believe it was all just a coincidence because both of the team’s entries are just that good!  “Underdog” was actually my favorite entry even before the finalists were announced and I thought it would have a very good chance of scoring big on the USA Today ad meter.  Turns out I was right. “Underdog” went on to be one of the four finalist videos to air during the superbowl and was ranked the #2 best commercial of the game on the USA Today Ad Meter.  That feat earned the team a bonus of $600,000 from Doritos.

When you ball all that good news together you know what you get?  The greatest set of accomplishments in video contest history, that’s what.  Sure, the Herbert Brothers landed the #1 spot on the USA Today ad meter and earned a million dollar bonus last year for their CTSB entry, “Free Doritos” but I think the combined achievements of the 5 Point Productions team top that easily.  For God’s sake, they won 2 out of the 3 years the contest has been run!  That’s amazing.  I was really interested in hearing some behind the scenes details about this whole thing and one of the producers of “Underdog” and “Kids these Days,” Kyle Girardi offered to answer a few questions.  Before we get into his answers, here are his team’s Crash the Superbowl spots:

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The above is the 5 Point Team’s entry for the 2006/2007 Crash the Superbowl contest, “Live the Flavor.”  This commercial went on to be the CTSB winner and aired during the game in ’07.  This was for the first installment of the contest and back then, the prize for making it to the finals was $10,000 and there were no bonuses to be won if your ad made it to air.

Here’s the team’s 2009/2010 entry “Kids These Days.”  This spot was selected by Doritos as one of this year’s 6 finalists.  The prize for being a finalist is $25,000.

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Finally, here’s the team’s other 2009/2010 entry, “Underdog.”  This commercial ALSO made it to the finals and so they recived an additional $25,000 finalist prize.  On top of that of course, they also recived a $600,000 bonus for scoring so well on the ad meter.  “Underdog” was the only Doritos commercial to crack the Top 10 on the ad meter on Superbowl sunday.

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Now that you’re caught up, let’s get on with the interview!

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VCN: So who and what is 5 Point Productions?

KYLE:  That’s kind of a tough one. 5 Point was started in 2007 when they made the first Doritos ad. Josh Svoboda and I weren’t part of the team at that time, but we were good friends with most of them from middle school. Its only been about a year that he and I have really been an active part of the 5 Point team. As for 5 Point’s future: “Underdog” and “Kids These Days” might be the last you see of 5 Point, we’re gonna try and take a few jobs if we need them, but right now the main focus is on a short film.

VCN:  What kind of gear did you use to shoot “Underdog” and “Kids These Days?” Do you own your gear?

KYLE:  We used the Canon 5D Mark II to shoot both commercials. It’s a pretty inexpensive camera that shoots incredible HD footage, so we had to get one.

VCN:  I was amazed when I found out that one team of filmmakers had gotten two entries in the finals this year and I was totally blown away when I found out that you guys were the winners of the 2007 contest. Did Doritos know “Underdog” and “Kids These Days” were by you guys? If not, how did they react when they found out?

KYLE:  No, they didn’t know at first. We put different names and addresses on the commercials just in case they liked them both. We couldn’t believe for the longest time that both were finalist, we thought some sorry son of a bitch was playing a joke on us.

VCN:  Did anyone ever worry that it might look kind of suspicious that the 2007 winners did so well again this year? Do you think Doritos would have picked both your videos if they knew who made them?

KYLE:  I think so. Josh’s name was on Underdog and he had no connection with the competition in 2007 whatsoever. However, “Kids These Days” had the name of one the people involved in the 2007 commercial, but I like to think they just picked it because they thought it was a great spot.

The 5 Points team filming "Kids these Days"
The 5 Points team filming “Kids these Days”

VCN:  A few days before the Superbowl, CBS aired a TV special about Superbowl commercials and they aired “Kids these Days” and said it was one of the ads that were going to play on Sunday. It of course didn’t air though. Did you guys get a ton of calls from people telling you your ad was going to air? Do you know how or why that happened?

KYLE:  I don’t know what that was about, but our phones were ringing off the hook. I tried not to pay much attention to it, but I figured if CBS was airing the Super Bowl they knew what commercials that were going to play… It kind of killed my buzz. I always had a lot more faith in Underdog, truth be told.

VCN:  “Underdog” was the first CTSB winner of the night to air. Was there a special reason for that?

KYLE:  Probably because I was being a little weirdo during the Super Bowl. I think they just called CBS and told them to play it first so I would calm the hell down. It’s torture not knowing if your commercial is gonna air or not, and I had no idea I’d handle pressure so terribly. My heart was about to pound out of my chest during every commercial break. If it weren’t for the 2 Xanax I took before the game I most likely would have had a heart attack.

VCN:  Do you guys know how your videos did in the online voting? Do you know if you made the top three or do you think that “Underdog” might have been Dortio’s choice as the bonus ad?

KYLE:  I’m not going to say how I know, but I know for a fact we had enough votes to make top 3.

VCN:  How did you guys find out you won 2nd place on the ad meter? How’d you celebrate?

KYLE:  It was actually Dave Herbert who told us at first, he had his cell phone on him and was surfing the web. It wasn’t really set in stone until Rudy Wilson (CEO Doritos) got up in front of everyone on the bus ride back to the hotel and said “I’m out $600 grand, because Underdog got 2nd place.”

I remember the feeling that came over me, the first thing that popped in my head was “I can finally make a movie.” I can’t think of a happier moment in my life. That night we didn’t really celebrate that much. We had a few beers and got to say goodbye to everyone… It was really sad leaving those guys, all the other finalists are amazing people. Believe it or not I was hoping to see Snack Attack or Smackout play in the 4th spot over “Kids These Days.”

On the set of Underdog.  The small camera in the shot is the Canon 5D used to film both finalist videos.
On the set of Underdog. The small camera in the shot is the Canon 5D used to film both finalist videos.

VCN:  You obviously spent a lot of time with the Crash the Superbowl folks. Did you get the impression that they will bring the contest back this fall?

KYLE:  I think they will. It looked like they got just as big a rush out of it as we did.

VCN:  What do you guys plan to do now?

KYLE:  We got some attention from the commercials, so we’re gonna try and make some extra dough. Within the next month or so I’d also like to get rolling on a short film.

VCN:  If the CTSB contest comes back, would you guys be up for replacing the Herbert Brothers as the “Kings of the Crash” and being the contest’s spokesmen? (I think that’d be great and I hope that’s what happens)

KYLE:  Certainly not me personally. I’m way to ugly to be in front of the camera.

VCN:  You guys certainly seem to have figured out the recipe for success in this particular contest. Have any advise for aspiring Crash the Superbowl contestants?

KYLE:  I guess just don’t be too hard on yourself. Before I knew we were finalists I was convinced that “Underdog” and “Kids These Days” were the two biggest piles of shit on the planet. I couldn’t believe Doritos picked them. Sorry, I know “believe in yourself” sounds lame.

VCN:  Thanks a ton to Kyle for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations to all of his teammates!

2 thoughts on “VCN Interview with Crash the Superbowl co-winner, Kyle Gerardi

  1. The dog commercial was good and was the best of the bunch. But I bet doritos was pissed when they found out they picked to videos from the same people. The old man one was funny but there were lots of other good ones. It would have been better to give other people a chance of winning.

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