The 2012 Crash the Super Bowl Contenders!

This fall I sent a ridiculous goal for myself; I wanted to try and watch every, single Crash the Super Bowl entry and create a list of the best submissions.  But this year Doritos received a record number of videos.  In all, about 5,000 ads are on display in the contest gallery.  If one person were to sit and watch every one of those 30 second spots it would take them almost 42 man-hours to get through them all.  That’s a hell of a lot of zombies and crotch shots for one person to endure!

I tried to “watch” about 100 entries a day but I’ve been crazy busy lately and I just had to throw in the towel after about 4,000 videos.  And I put “watch” in quotation marks because I didn’t actually watch all of those entries all the way to the end.  In fact, I would estimate that I only watched 10% of those ads all the way through.  Why? Because to be frank, you can tell if a submission has a shot at winning after just the first few seconds.  If an entry has terrible sound and bad picture and features people drinking beer or wearing t-shirts with recognizable trademarks on them then that entry is simply un-airable.  So I skipped past most of the entries after about 3 or 4 seconds.

However, even though I only made it through about 70 or 80% of the submissions I think I was able to find most of the best entries in the contest.  For the videos I couldn’t get to, I scrolled through the video gallery and stopped to check out the ads that had high-quality looking thumbnails.  That might sound like a weird strategy but try it; you’ll find that if an entry’s thumbnail image looks good, the ad itself is probably decent.  But I also owe a huge thanks to all of our readers who submitted their links or who sent me tips about great entries. I bet half of this “best of” list came from reader suggestions.

So how did I determine whether or not an entry was a contender?  First, I eliminated every entry that had the following problems:

1.  Un-fixable trademark or copyright violations

2.  Un-fixable rule violations.

3.  Offensive of disgusting content.

4.  An idea that has already been done to death.

5.  Very low production values.

Though Doritos has claimed that production quality doesn’t matter to them…it does.  In 5 years, Doritos has never picked a finalist that had bad lighting, video or sound.  So I would say that production values are a HUGE (but unofficial) factor in picking the Top 5.  Every year Fritolay’s judges pick some not-so-funny but gorgeous looking, (relatively) big budget submissions.  But they have never picked a hilarious but kind of crappy looking video for the finals.  In fact, I’d estimate that at least 60% of all the past CSTB final ads were either shot on actual film or with high-end RED cameras.  And this year I bet at least 3 of the 5 finalists will be shot with REDs.

So anyway, those were the problems I looked for.  If a video didn’t have any of those issues, and if I was able to get through the whole video without being bored or turned off, here are the 4 questions I asked myself:

1.  Based on how the Ad Meter works, does this spot have a chance at scoring well?

2.  If people saw this ad on tv, would they like it enough to want to see it again later online?

3.  Based on past finalist selections, does this video fit the tone and style of the videos that the judges at Fritolay seem to like?

4.  Is it funny, memorable or special?

And that left me with a list of about 50 videos.  Then I whittled that number down to this list of 25 ads.  No wait…actually I’m going to share 26 videos.  Why 26?  Because one of these videos in my submission!  I’ll just mix it in with the rest and you guys can consider it like a little Easter egg.  If you can guess which one is mine, post your pick in a comment!  Seriously though, I’m very proud of my team’s entry and I swear, if I hadn’t made it I would still include it in this list.  But of course, my entry would obviously suit my own sense of humor since I wrote the thing.

Finally, there’s one other point I feel the need to make.  Because this is a list of ads that I think have a shot at making the Final 5, there are a few videos here that I personally freaking HATE.  But as I said, Doritos seems to really prefer gorgeous-looking ads so there are a few amazing looking but un-funny videos on this list.

And now, here is VCN’s list of the 2012 Crash the Superbowl Contenders!  All the entries will be listed in alphabetical order.  Click the images to view the entries.  Here we go!

A DAY AT THE ZOO:  This one is full of action, comedy and big wacky characters.  I’d call this one a sure thing but the costumes are TOO good.  I think the Zebra and the Lion are supposed to be the characters from the movie Madagascar.  If that’s the case this video could never get cleared to air.

A Day at the Zoo

BABY DORITOS: This one is just bonkers.  But I like it.  It probably is too crazy to make the final 5 though:

Baby Doritos

BAD MONSTER: This is one of my personal favorites.  It’s such a pure and simple idea that I can’t believe it’s never been done before.  But the Universal-style Frankenstein might also prevent this one from getting cleared for air.

Bad Monster

BIRD OF PREY: I’m not going to mince words; I despise this entry.  I’ve seen too many poor, dead birds that smashed into windows in my life to think this is funny.  But I think I hate this entry all the more because I know it will probably make the finals.  Sorry to get Shakespearean on you but this ad is full of sound and fury but signifies nothing.  It’s not funny but it LOOKS funny and it hits all the right beats.  But the comedy falls flat because there is simply no reason this goofy guy should be acting like a bird.  So it’s just crazniess for craziness’ sake.  One more issue:  The lead actor in this ad was also the lead in 2010 Crash the Super Bowl finalist ad, Casket. (He played the guy in the titular casket.)  Actually, I did some googling and Bird of Prey was made by the same LA Megachurch that created Casket.  Casting the same lead actor was a bad move; if Bird of Prey makes the finals it will look like that actor is some fritolay executive’s nephew of something.  If the Doritos judges pass on this ad I’ll be pretty darn proud of them.  They won’t though.  It will be in the finals.

Bird of Prey

BROKEN CAPE: This one’s just amusing and quirky.  It kind of reminded me of the simple “keep your hands of my momma, keep your hands off my doritos” ad from a few years ago.

Broken Cape

CALL OF THE SEA:  The judges in this contest love weird, random, quirky stuff and nothing is weirder or more random than a fisherman catching “the king of the sea.”  I originally considered this spot too strange to include on this list but about 10 minutes after I watched it I was compelled to go back and watch it again.  So it’s re-watch-ability sealed the deal for me.

Call of the sea

CAVES AND MONSTERS:  Brilliant.  Clearly a masterpiece that was created by some kind of video contest genius.  Doritos should just cancel the whole contest and send the director of this ad the million bucks…whoever he may be!  (Winky-face!!)

Caves and Monsters

DISTURBANCE:  I feel like 1 out of every 10 entries I watched this year was a parody of Paranormal Activity.  This is the only good one I saw.  Actually, I’d say this is one of my personal favorites.  The twist at the end is perfect.

DODGEBALL HUSTLE:  I think I had this day dream 100 times when I was a kid.

Dodgeball Hustle

DORITOS DAD:  This one isn’t too crazy or quirky but it’s funny and well made.  It could sneak into the Top 5.

Doritos Dad

DORITO TRIANGLE: This is hands down one of the slickest CTSB ads ever made.  I can’t imagine how much it cost or how much time went into creating this spot.  The funny thing is though that this ad probably can’t win!  It references a bunch of real people and I don’t think you can refer to people like Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa in a commercial without getting the consent of their estates.  Oh and also the ad isn’t too funny.  It’s sort of only impressive because it’s competing against a bunch of videos that were shot by teenagers with flip cameras.

Doritos Triangle

FOOD FIGHT BLITZ:  Every year Doritos gets a million food fight videos.  But this one was shot with a high-end camera and looks pretty slick.

Food Fight Blitz

GRAVITY:  This one looks great and it has a big, shocking, violent ending which is always a big plus.  But in this case, one of the people getting hurt was a woman.  And she gets smooshed pretty hard.  So I’m not sure if Doritos would take a gamble and pick any ad that showed violence happening to a woman.  When a dude gets hit in the nuts it’s funny but when a woman gets crushed and (presumably) killed in a commercial people are going to get upset.  To make things trickier, the editor inserted the famous “Wilhelm Scream” and I don’t think any unoriginal sound effects are allowed.  It’s also a real turn off that the makers of this ad already built a slick website asking people to “Vote for Gravity” if it makes the finals:


HITCHHIKER: This was one of the very first great ads I saw this year.  I think this one is a MAJOR contender but there’s a chance that the surprise at the end has been over-exposed thanks to similar “shock” videos on the web.


HIPSTER KIDS: This one makes the list just because it’s a gorgeous, expensive looking ad that was probably made by some of NYU’s most promising film students.  It’s not funny though and hipsters and cute kids acting like adults both make my skin crawl.  So this one is a double-whammy for me but I can see how the judges could get blinded by the amazing cinematography and the little kids in funny costumes.

Hipster Kids

IMAGINARY FRIEND: Pretty good.  This one seems like it was made by some people who carefully studied what kind of ads usually make the finals.

Imaginary Friend

JURASSIC KARMA:  This one is cute and the ending did make me laugh out loud.  The CGI is amazing for a video contest but I’m thinking it might not be pro enough for the super bowl.

Jurassic Karma

KITTY HEIST:  This entry was directed by two-time Crash the Super Bowl finalist Kevin Wilson.  (He directed Casket in 2010 and Birthday Wish in 2011)  This one is obviously cute but the only reason this ad is any good is because the producers poured a bunch of money into this project.  In fact, the same thing could be said of Casket and Birthday wish.  All 3 ads were shot with RED cameras and were probably cost at least $3,000 each to make.  And that bothers me because it feels like this one filmmaker is able to just buy his way into the finals every year.  And the more he wins, the more money he has to spend on his entry next year.  This same director also submitted a second, very slick entry this year entitled Sling Baby but I think Kitty Heist has a much better chance of making the top 5.

Kitty Heist

MAKE THE MOST OF IT:  A few weeks ago I listed the “Top 5 most over-done Crash the Super Bowl ideas” and right at the top of my list was “Zombies.”  This year it felt like 5% of the submissions I watched had zombies in them.  I thought zombies in a CTSB entry would never seem fresh.  And then I saw this entry.  This one is absolutely perfect.  But it might be a little too edgy for the Super Bowl.  Not only is there a little gore, this spot acknowledges the existence of sex (gasp!)  The actors are fantastic and they really nail the excellent script.  If the Doritos judges feel like making one really ballsy pick this year, it will be this ad.

Make the Most of it

MAYBE NEXT YEAR: This is kind of a strange one but that baby cracks me up.  If this aired during the super bowl people would just stop talking/eating/whatever to stare at the giant baby face and the pretty cinematography..  But unlike a lot of slick looking ads, this entry actually has a strong “punchline.”

Maybe Next Year

MY FRIEND ARCHIE: Even by professional standards, the CGI in this video is pretty darn good.  And it also manages to be kind of funny.  But what matters in this contest is humor.  If Doritos wanted slick CGI, they could just pay ILM to make them the most kick ass robot dog ever.  Still, if this one makes the final 5 I won’t be totally shocked.

My Friend Archie

PAINT FIGHT:  I personally like ads that have lots of action and a very simple storyline.  Actually, the judges at fritolay seem to like that too.  This ad has both of those features.

Paint Fight

PINATA:  I have seen roughly 100 billion CTSB entries that feature a piñata that is either a bag of Doritos or is filled with dortios.  I don’t really like the concept but of all the piñata-themed ads I’ve seen, this one is the best.


SERIOUS PROBLEM:  I saw a bunch of pretty good ghost-themed ads this year.  Many of them had really great effects but not a lot of laughs.  But I thought this one was kind of neat.  It’s not super hilarious or anything but its good for a chuckle.  Plus I like that he ghost is a pilgrim for no good reason.

Serious Problem

SURPRISINGLY BIG TASTE:  This is one of the only entries that actually made me laugh out loud.  And it’s exciting too!  I think it’s one of the most suspenseful video contest entries I’ve ever seen. You are just sitting and waiting to see what kind of horrible fate befalls that Innocent little toddler.

Surprisingly Big Taste

TONGUE LOVE:  I’m going to call it:  Tongue Love is my favorite 2012 Crash the Super Bowl entry.  It’s simply ridiculous and awesome.  The guy in the video is amazing and the twist at the end is just icing on the cake.  I’m worried the tongue-humping might be a little too graphic for the judges though.  Plus I think that there might even be a rule that says that characters aren’t allowed to sing or rap over the provided music.

Tongue Love

Wow, what a perfect place to end the list!  Hey see what I mean about videos with good thumbnails?  Almost every one of these videos can be summed up with a single, iconic image.  So…that’s the list.  If you’re entry didn’t make it, please don’t take it personally.  There were at least 25 other strong submissions I considered for this article.  So just tell yourself that yours just barely missed the cut.  If I missed any really great spots, be sure to leave a comment and me know.  And if you think my list is full of shit you can let me know that too.

One final note:  Today is December 21st.  And aside from being my birthday (yes, for serious) it is also the day that Fritolay might be calling the potential finalists!  I have talked to a lot of former Crash the Super Bowl finalists and I always ask them “How and when did Doritos give you the good news?”  They always say the same thing; they got a call 2 or 3 days before Christmas eve.  So I hope you all charged your cell phones last night.  Good luck everybody!

93 thoughts on “The 2012 Crash the Super Bowl Contenders!

  1. But all those commercials were inspired by something else…

    “Good artists borrow, Great artists steal”

  2. Actually, Ron D. , i was part of “Eat a dorito”. Which has a great doritos spokesman, i feel like VCN should put it up there but i aint complaining. Nice try tho Hater.

  3. Also, not to be a HATER…but if you think for one second that the SUPERBOWL TARGET audience wants to see (2) guys fighting w/ paint w/ Doritos involved U NUTZ!!! Again, it’s shot real nice…watch the bud light commercials…that’s the target audience…people don’t wanna think too much…

  4. Thats why EAT A DORITO is perfect. NOT TOO MUCH thinking. Its catchy. The most successful commercials are the catchy ones.

  5. I agree…And, funny too…that one started off good but I doubt MIDDLE AMERICA wants to see a (whatever u wanna call it) prancing around singing “and, I eat a Dorito”
    It might just turn them off…concoously or

  6. A few random points:

    Eat a dorito was pretty good but I think it was too happy for this contest. Seems like the doritos judges like videos that are a little dark and “wrong.”

    About Paint Fight: A previous commenter pointed out that Paint Fight was very similar to a commercial that ran like 2 years ago. That might kill its chances.

    Billy, Ahem, I think you meant “Caves and Monsters” was the ad that was a play on nerdy board games, not “Disturbance.”

  7. We live in a different world now, people are into internet trolls, everybody’s humor is different, obviously your stuck in the 90s. Its the information age buddy, Eat a Dorito is an internet viral video, which is what Doritos is obviously looking for now. Why do you think major companies is paying FreddieW on youtube or Mystery Guitar Man to do their commercials? Exactly….. i rest my case.

  8. Beardy,

    I just wanted I clarify something you posted about SAG contracts. This contest DOES NOT fall under SAG jurisdiction unless the spot is aired…to have people fill out SAG paperwork would be incorrect. If, the spot airs, then it is the producers obligation to hire a SAG signatory to issue proper contracts…( in this case it would be FRito Lay) until that time, anything else would be premature.

  9. Mike,

    The rules of the contest actually state that ALL finalists are required to fill out SAG-related paperwork. Though only one commercial is guaranteed to air during the super bowl, the tradition is that ALL 5 finalist commercials eventually air on TV. So if an ad makes the top 5 it will almost certainly appear on TV at some point.

    But imagine if that wasn’t the case. No one knows who won the public vote until the winning ad plays during the super bowl. If only one finalist is asked to submit SAG paperwork, that would kind of kill the surprise, wouldn’t it?

  10. As a SAG member and on one I the committees I can assayed you that if, IF all of the finalists are required to fill out SAG paperwork, then everyone (principal) must be at least paid the “day-rate” for a SAG commercial…take it from someone who has acted in numerous commercials knows…the ad agency WILL NOT just happen to pay on a whim…for ref…chi the sag contract 2002 and the 2009 addn’tl ammendent…I take wit you are not sag..

  11. And Mike, I take it you didn’t read the rules of the contest. I did actually research my article before I wrote it:

    “Each person whose image, likeness and/or voice appears in a Finalist video must agree that he/she will execute a standard SAG Commercials Contract, will accept minimum scale compensation and talent residuals and will be bound by the terms and conditions of such contract, including exclusivity.”

    So yes, all actors will sign SAG contracts and yest they all get paid scale. Not only do the rules say so but I’ve talked to past crash the super bowl finalists and doritos sent them SAG paperwork for all their actors to fill out. It costs 3 million dollars to air a 30 second commercial during the super bowl. I don’t think fritolay is going to sweat paying like 800 bucks per finalist actor.

  12. I understand…but, trust me, I believe you are mistaken…in order to “execute” a SAG contract, you must be a SAG signatory…now, with that being said the company running the contest would be this…however, IF YOU ARE TO EXECUTE A SAG CONTRACT YOU MUST FOLLOW ALL SAG RULES…Now, with this contest, it DOES NOT fall under any SAG CONTRACT so you cannot execut any contracts…ONLY IF IT IT BROADCAST…not before….resist
    E I am not trying to argue, just giving you facts…

  13. Dude….I have interviewed past crash the super bowl finalists. They have told me that they were required to have people sign SAG contracts before the finalists were announced…let alone before the commercials aired. And I just showed you the text from the rules that confirms what I said. And the contest is being “run” by Fritolay and the mega-ad agency goodby silverstein & partners. I’m sure they are SAG signatories and since this is the 5th year they have run this contest, I am sure they know what they are doing. They wouldn’t put stuff about all actors being paid scale unless it was 100% necessary.

    But this isn’t really a discussion about SAG paperwork. You plugged the entry “let’s go” before and I’m guessing you’re either in it or you helped make it. You also just had to point out that only featured performers would get paid and not extras. And “Let’s Go” just happens to have a ton of extras so now you’re probably concerned that might hurt your chances.

    To me it sounds like you’re just trying to keep hope alive that your team might still get a last minute phone call. But you need to accept the fact that if you guys haven’t been called yet, you didn’t make the finals. It’s obvious that you guys put a lot of time and money and effort into your ad. And it’s obvious that you guys are also working hard to promote your entry (I’ve gotten several fishy comments plugging “let’s go” in the last day or two.) I just checked and saw that you guys already built a fancy website to promote your entry:

    I understand your enthusiasm but the facts are the facts. The contest is over for this year. All that SAG paper work has already been filled in and returned. Based on new info I received I suspect that the winners were actually called last week.

  14. No…not really. Glad you have your info correct. This is not a plug, I didn’t work on that shor, but true I do know people involved in it…I doubt you have inside info as to the sag paperwork being filled out…if the finalists were none were or are as funny as “let’s go” which my girl was in fact a PA on…I am SAG as well and have no care about the production side of things…good luck in the future!!!

  15. Hey “Leon,” it’s funny but when I went to approve your comment I noticed that you have the same exact IP address as “Mike.” ( Don’t even bother trying to tell me you guys are roommates and you left this site up on your shared computer and “Leon” jumped on and commented.

    Mike, you’re a liar and a phony. You seem way too interested for a guy who claims that his only connection to “Let’s Go” is that his girlfriend was a PA on the shoot. And I’m guessing that was BS about your being on a “SAG committee.”

    We don’t have many rules here but one is “Be honest and be yourself.” I’m blocking your IP address from leaving future comments. Please tell the rest of the Let’s Go team they should stop spamming me too. (or were all those comments coming from you?) All future comments about “Let’s Go” will be deleted.

    One final note: You’re wrong….”Let’s Go” is not funny.

  16. Hey Billy Nguyen,
    Thanks for your support for Eat a Dorito. I’m glad you like it man. Really appreciate it. And thanks for your feedback, Beardy.

  17. @ Mike – Beardy is right, all five submissions that are deemed finalists become SAG and will need to have paperwork filled out before the announcement. Your comments about SAG signatory just don’t make any sense. FritoLay, their production company, or their advertisers are the signatory and they will pay the actors minimum SAG commercial rates based on the amount of exposure and length of the commercial run. It’s a standard and regulated process. I’m sure Doritos are thrilled to do so for a superbowl worthy commercial produced for $25k + SAG rates – regardless of how many legitimate actors and extras you have (within reason). So thrilled in fact, they are willing to add in the bonuses.

    And yes, “Let’s Go” is a nice try, but it’s not Doritos Superbowl funny.

  18. Did you watch Chip Cheater? We shot it on the RED ONE and I thought it was funny. I really thought it was a contender but who knows.

  19. Check out our other one, IT’S GOOD as well. They are both on youtube if you would like to watch them on a bigger scale.

  20. Beardy,

    The animals in the “Day at the Zoo” ad may resemble madagascar characters but that doesn’t mean they ARE the madagascar characters, its not like they are using the logo from the movie, there is nothing to worry about there, same goes for the “triangle” ad, a guy doing an elvis voice and the word hoffa is no problem for Doritos legally and thats all they care about in the end, the simple don’t want to incur any licensing fees and i don’t think any of these ads warrant that. All that said, I think “Kitty Heist” is damn funny, and the animals are cute as hell, I actually like “Bird of Prey” , the comic beats work perfect for me .

  21. Well what did you think of mine? Your honest opinion. To be honest I think only Kitty Heist and maybe hipster kids are better than mine, but maybe I’m blinded by my own ego.

  22. shaneomack,

    Sorry I forgot to respond to your comment. Ok so Chip Cheater….um, that was um….awful and wrong. Sorry to be so blunt but damn man, what we’re you thinking? Mixing kids and sex is horribly inappropriate. I can’t believe you were able to find 2 kids who’s parent’s would let them be in that commercial.

    The second ad was well made and interesting. But the idea of using a dorito as a “paper football” has been done a million times. Your version was pretty good though.

  23. jasonklein999,

    Those were all really strong entries. I had seen #1 and #3 and they were on my short list. I hadn’t seen #2 and if I had it also would have at least made my short list.

  24. Crowbar,

    Ultimate Wingman was well made but I don;t think the concept was executed correctly. Was the baby trying to knock the doritos out of everyone’s hands so that he could get them? Was it the baby’s goal to make sure that his friend was the only one that still had some doritos? I kind of didn’t get what was going on. And I didn’t like when the guy at the end just declared the baby to be “The Ultimate Wingman.” I think it should have opened with teh 2 guys talking about how they wanted to meet s girl at the party. Then one guy could say his wingman was going to hook them up. The story would have had more of a pay off when the mystery wingman was finally revealed.

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