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“Time Machine” wins the 2014 Crash the Super Bowl contest!!

There must be a few sadists working over at Frito-Lay because apparently they just love torturing their Crash the Super Bowl finalists.  Every year, the five potential winners have to sit through the game to find out whether or not their commercial is going to air.  That sounds pretty nerve-wracking but this year Doritos decided to add even more suspense to the contest.  Last night, two fan-made Doritos commercials aired; Time Machine and Cowboy Kid.  The ad that was picked by FritoLay’s judges was supposed to win $50,000 and the ad that won the public vote was supposed to get a million bucks.  But Doritos didn’t tell the producers of these commercials which ad won the grand prize!  The finalists had to wait until this morning to learn the news on live TV.

Fortunately, there were no panic attacks or on-air mental breakdowns after Time Machine was revealed to be the grand prize winner.  Ryan Thomas Anderson of Scottsdale, Arizona is the official winner of the 2014 Crash the Super Bowl contest and he’s taking home the million dollar grand prize.  And as a bonus, both he and the creator of Cowboy Kid, Amber Gill, have been offered jobs working on the new Avengers movie.  Here’s a clip of Ryan getting the good news on Good Morning America:

I’m really psyched about this outcome.  I interviewed Ryan a few weeks ago and he’s a super nice guy who’s going to use the money to help out his family.  Plus it’s sort of awesome that the CTSB finalist with the lowest budget wound up beating all the big-budget entries.  Time Machine cost just $200 to produce while Cowboy Kid had a budget of $5,000!  Congrats to Ryan on the big win and congrats to those sickos at Frito-Lay for running a really excellent installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest!

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Time Machine and Cowboy Kid air during Super Bowl XLVIII

Man, was that the weirdest Super Bowl ever or what??  For the last two weeks everyone was saying that the game was going to be a nail-biter but in the end, Denver would win.  Well guess what?  Everyone was wrong!  And it seems like everyone was wrong about who would win this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest too.  The entire Internet was rooting for Finger Cleaner but ultimately the winners were Time Machine and Cowboy Kid.  Doritos still hasn’t said which ad actually got the most votes in the online poll.  Apparently the million dollar winner will be announced on Good Morning America tomorrow.  But we know for sure that one of these entries will get $1,000,000 and the other will get $50,000.

I was really excited to see Time Machine air in the first quarter but I’m not thrilled that Cowboy Kid won.  There’s something about that ad that just creeps me out.  Maybe it’s the little boy’s long, flowing hair?  Or maybe it’s the fact that the mom claps like a goofball when she that her son has hog-tied his brother?

Ok to be honest, the real reason that I don’t like Cowboy Kid is that it was apparently (and semi-secretly) directed by a filmmaker named Kevin T. Willson….and Kevin T. Willson ALREADY WON A MILLION DOLLARS FROM DORITOS TWO YEARS AGO.  He won the million bucks back in 2012 after his commercial Sling Baby was ranked #1 on a Facebook ad meter poll.  And in total, he’s now directed 4 commercials that wound up making the CTSB finals.  There’s nothing in the official rules that say you have to retire from the contest if you win the grand prize.  But it just sort of seems uncool…doesn’t it?  And what’s really galling is that it looks like Willson entered under his friend’s wife’s name and then tried to hide (or at least not promote) his involvement….probably because he knew that CTSB fans might get pissed if they found out that a previous million-dollar winner was trying to “crash” the Super Bowl for the 4th time.

We’ll post the final CTSB results as soon as they’re announced.  In the mean time, you might want to check out Doritos’ facebook page.  It is absolutely blowing up right now.  Animal rights supporters are freaking furious that FritoLay decided to show Cowboy Kid since it features an act of animal cruelty:  https://www.facebook.com/DoritosUSA

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Who’s gonna Crash the Super Bowl tonight?

crashthesuperbowl2014Tonight FritoLay will air two fan-made Doritos commercials during the Super Bowl; one was picked during a month-long, online public vote and the other was chosen by a team of judges.  The popular vote winner will get a million dollars and the ad that was picked by the judges will win $50,000.  (The other three finalists will receive $25,000 each.)  The five official finalists haven’t been told who actually won the contest so they’ll find out along with the rest of us when the winning ads are revealed during the game.  But the winners won’t be told which commercial won the million bucks until after the Super Bowl is over.

Every year I try and predict which Crash the Super Bowl ads will air and I’m pretty confident about my 2014 picks.  I think Finger Cleaner will win the million dollars and I think Time Machine will come in second.  To be honest, my predictions aren’t especially bold.  Even though views and social media shares don’t officially count in this contest, Finger Cleaner blew the competition away in those categories.  Here are the youtube stats for all five 2014 CTSB finalists:

1.  Finger Cleaner:  Views: 3,173,848.  Shares:  6,424

2.  Time Machine:  Views: 1,349,099.  Shares:  695

3.  Office Thief:  Views: 1,108,706.  Shares:  300

4.  Breakroom Ostrich:  Views: 963,791.  Shares:  Data N/A

5,  Cowboy Kid:  Views: Shares:  962,145.  Shares:  465

You don’t need to be an ad wizard to realize that if one commercial got the most views, it probably got the most votes too.  So Finger Cleaner looks like a safe bet for first place.  But those “shares” are also an important statistic.  That number shows how many times people clicked the “share on Twitter/facebook/Google +/Reddit etc, option.  In the last few years, advertisers have realized that many Super Bowl commercials really start to pay for themselves AFTER the game.  That’s because viewers start sharing their favorite commercials on their social networks.  If an ad is quickly forgotten about, that means it was a failure.  But if a Super Bowl commercial goes viral, the sponsor will get tens of millions of extra views for free.

So when it comes time to pick the 2nd place CTSB ad, the judges will choose the commercial with the highest viral potential.  If Finger Cleaner somehow loses the online vote, the judges would have no choice but to pick it as the 2nd place winner.  But like I said, I’m pretty confident that Finger Cleaner will win the million dollars.  That leaves Time Machine, Office Thief, Breakroom Ostrich, and the Cowboy Kid.  I think the two office-themed ads are going to cancel themselves out.  And Cowboy Kid was sort of a flop in the view count/share race.  But that doesn’t mean it has no hope of making it to air.  No….Cowboy Kid probably has no hope of making it to air for another reason.  After Cowboy Kid made the Top 5, animal rights activists raised some digital hell about that ad because it features a kid riding a giant dog.  A lot of people were concerned that kids at home might try and emulate this stunt and hurt themselves or their pets.  Doritos and the Cowboy Kid team were hit with a barrage of angry tweets, e-mails and facebook posts.  Some of that anger even made it’s way to VCN.  I got a few e-mails from people who were pissed at me just because I posted the ad!  Here’s one of the messages I received:

The Cowboy Kid is “cute” but it is also a terrible video. It depicts a very dangerous situation for both dog and child! You need to remove this from the list of finalists.

Some idiot will try to do this at home, and the dog will suffer back or leg injuries (a dog’s skeletal structure does not provide the kind of support needed for being ridden) or the dog will object to the abuse and will bite the child. Since children are small, that usually means a bite to the face. If it’s a big dog like the one pictured, or a strong dog like a pit bull, any bite will be very, very serious.

If you leave it up and someone’s kid gets hurt while trying to do the same thing the child in the video does,  you could even get sued. Take it down, please!

I didn’t take the ad down but these folks did make a decent point.  There are a lot of dumb kids and a lot of dumb parents out there.  What if “Cowboy Kid-ing” became a meme and a dog’s back gets broken or a kid gets their face bit off?  The Cowboy Kid protest was relatively mild but that’s because less than a million people saw that ad online.  Imagine if 100 million people saw it on TV tonight?  I think the ad guys at FritoLay are smart enough to realize that if they show that commercial during the Super Bowl, the backlash on Monday could be pretty ugly.

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FOX and the NFL make a big decision regarding Doritos’ viral hit, “Finger Cleaner”

The Australian-made Crash the Super Bowl entry “Finger Cleaner” is pretty disgusting.  It’s gross and it’s weird and its thinly-veiled sexual subtext is completely outrageous.  And you know what?  That’s why I love this commercial.  I didn’t think the CTSB judges would have the stones to pick Finger Cleaner for the Top 5 but I guess I was wrong.  (Apparently they were serious when they told their fans they wanted “bold” submissions.)  Finger Cleaner is so crazy and so hilarious that it actually went viral about 2 months before it even made the semi-finals.  And when the ad was announced as an official finalist on January 2nd, Finger Cleaner was shared by so many people that it gained almost 300,000 views in a day.  With three days left to go in the online voting, the commercial is up to 2.6 million views and 5,252 shares.  Compare that to the finalist in 2nd place in the (unofficial) view count race; Time Machine.  That ad has proved to be pretty popular too but it’s only earned 1,120,438 views and 574 shares.


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Views and shares don’t actually count in this contest but they’re a good indicator of how an entry is doing in the public voting.  Finger Cleaner is getting so much positive media coverage and so many social media shares that it’s probably going to win the online poll in a landslide.  The finalist that gets the most votes is supposed to air during Superbowl XLVIII and the creator is supposed to automatically win a million dollars.  But ever since Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, the networks that broadcast the Super Bowl have been trying to keep the event squeaky-clean and controversy-free.  Every year there are a few stories about Super Bowl ads that are rejected because they’re “too hot for TV” or because they might offend viewers.  Advertisers such as Godaddy have realized that they can get some free press attention just by submitting Super Bowl ads that they know will get rejected.  It’s a win-win situation for sponsors because these “controversial” ads go viral but the company doesn’t have to pay 3 million bucks to air it during the Super Bowl.  Case in point, this Godaddy ad that was rejected CBS last year…


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That was pretty lame.  I doubt Godaddy ever actually wanted to air that 49 second-long commercial during the Super Bowl.  (They wound up airing a shorter, less-gross version of this spot) But because it was officially “rejected,” Godaddy could call it “too hot for TV” and post it on youtube.  Since January 2013 that commercial has been seen more than 1.6 million times and those views didn’t cost Godaddy a dime.

The day after Doritos revealed their finalists, The Today Show aired and discussed the other selected ads (Office Thief, Breakroom Ostrich, Cowboy Kid and Time Machine) but at the end of the segment, Matt Lauer said:

“Now, there was a fifth finalist, but after watch it 37 times, I decided, and so did some other people here that it was not right for morning TV.  So we’re gonna put that on our website and you can go to Today.com and check that one out.”

If you went to Today.com and looked for their story about the Crash the Super Bowl contest, you’d see that the headline they used was “See 5 Super Bowl ads competing for $1M and the one that couldn’t air on TV.”  The article does include Finger Cleaner but states that it was “too provocative for TV.”

If The Today Show couldn’t show Finger Cleaner, will FOX be able to air it during the new G-rated Super Bowl?  The commercial is so bizarre and so suggestive that I’ve had a creeping suspicion that Doritos picked it because they thought it might get rejected by FOX.  If the ad didn’t get approved, the company could just air another Crash the Super Bowl commercial but they would still get millions of free viral views from Finger Cleaner.

But that plan doesn’t really seem like Frito-Lay’s style.  So I contacted the company and asked what would happen if Finger Cleaner won the online vote but was rejected by the network.  The Senior Director of Public Relations for Frito-Lay North America, Chris Kuechenmeister (AKA one of the top Crash the Super Bowl judges) sent me back a pleasantly definitive answer:

“All five finalist spots have been approved by FOX and the NFL.  Two of the five finalist spots will air during the Super Bowl – one selected by the world’s votes, the other by the Doritos brand team.”

So that’s that!  If Finger Cleaner wins the online vote CAN air during the Super Bowl.  And that’s great news for everyone who thinks there aren’t enough glory holes for cheesy fingers on TV!
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VCN interviews Ryan Thomas Andersen, Crash the Super Bowl finalist and creator of “Time Machine”

Director Ryan Thomas Andersen on the set of "Time Machine"

Director Ryan Thomas Andersen on the set of “Time Machine”

I’m not really a big football fan but everyone on facebook seems pretty psyched that the Seahawks and the Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl.  Seattle is super fun and my brother lives in Colorado so I guess I approve of this match-up!

So now we know which two teams will play on February 2nd.  But we still don’t know which two Doritos ads will air that night.  In fact…neither does Doritos.  That’s because there’s still 8 days of voting left in the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I wanna help you use your final votes wisely so let’s take a minute to get to know one of the finalists; Ryan Thomas Andersen who created one of my favorite 2014 CTSB entries, Time Machine.

VCN:  Hi Ryan.  Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.   So let’s talk about Time Machine.  Where did the idea from?

Ryan:  This year, it was actually my 6-year-old son who inspired me!  My son & I were watching “Back to the Future” and when the movie ended he asked if I could make him a time machine.  As background, he always asks me to make something related to whatever we watch.  Cardboard was naturally my first thought – the most inexpensive material – and building this machine for my son led to the idea of what you see in the commercial.
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VCN:  What was production like?

Ryan:  The production was simple.  It only took about seven hours and it was a very small crew: Sound/PA/Producer/dog wrangler (my mom).  My beautiful son is the little boy in the commercial, and the golden is the family dog.  It was definitely a family affair.  I used the Black Magic Cinema Camera 2.5k, with 2 Rokinon Cinema Primes.

VCN:  How did you find out that you had made the semi-finals?  Did you think you had a shot at making the Top 5?

Ryan:  I found out about the semi-finals after I finished a job one afternoon.  I had missed a phone call and listened to my voicemail.  I don’t think I let the voicemail finish before I hit “call back!”  I was so excited!  The contest was open to the world this year – I was just grateful that I was recognized as a “semi-finalist.”

VCN:  How did you find out that you made the Top 5?

Ryan:  I was at my favorite breakfast place eating pancakes and oatmeal when Stan “The Man” Lee called me!  I actually walked out of the restaurant forgetting to pay, then ran back in and threw down $18 for a $5 meal.

Ryan shows his son how to "run" the Time Machine

Ryan shows his son how to “run” the Time Machine

VCN:  What did you do after you got the good news?

Ryan:  After I got the news I was speechless.  I wanted to tell the world, but I thought, “I’m keeping this secret to myself for as long as I can — I have earned this secret!”  I told my friends that I made the Top 5 the same day the world found out.

VCN:  What have you been doing to promote your entry?

Ryan:  I have been doing everything I can think of. I have been on countless radio and local TV stations. I have been on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram constantly interacting with as many people as possible.  I have also been shooting videos of my son, and we made a Vlog where people can follow our character “Mr. Smith” as he wanders Hollywood thinking he’s in the future!

VCN:  Are you excited for the super bowl?  Who are you taking as your guest?

Ryan:  I am stoked for the Super Bowl! I am taking my producer who happens to be a great friend of mine. So it will be amazing for us!

VCN:  Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Ryan:  My final thought is this: Even if I don’t go further in this contest, I hope that I can be a true example for others that if you work hard, and don’t give up on your dreams, they can come true!  It’s hard having a child at such a young age, and people can be very negative in this world.  Persistence and drive go a long way. I am living proof of it right now. If you want to see my ad air during the Super Bowl, just go to Doritos.com and vote for TIME MACHINE! Thank you to everyone who has supported us this far!  I am truly blessed.

VCN:  Thanks Ryan and good luck!

I asked Ryan if he wanted me to include a direct link to his entry but he declined!  He said I should just link to Crash the Super Bowl website since that would be fair to all the finalists.  So if you’d like to vote for Time Machine, just go to www.doritos.com

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VCN interviews Chris Capel, Crash the Super Bowl finalist and creator of “Office Thief”

On the set of "Office Thief"

Director Chris Capel and the stars of “Office Thief”

Last year’s crop of Crash the Super Bowl finalists were kinda lame.  There was only one ad that I really loved, Goat 4 Sale.  But this year the CTSB judges made some pretty good picks.  I really like 4 of the 5 ads they selected for 2014.  Now that I think about it, maybe the 2013 finalists sucked because Michael Bay was a guest judge.  Everybody knows that Michael Bay loves stupid Bullsh*t.  But this time around the guest judge was Stan Lee!  So maybe Stan the Man’s influence is one reason the 2014 finalists feel fresh and fun.

I’ve been spreading my daily votes between four ads; Finger Cleaner, Time Machine, Breakroom Ostritch and Office Thief.  All of those ads deserve their place in the Top 5 and I’d be happy to see any or all of them air during the big game.  So what does it take to make the Crash the Super Bowl finals?  Let’s ask the director of Office Thief, Chris Capel and find out!

VCN:  Hey Chris, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.  So to start, why don’t you tell us about yourself:  Where are you from and what kind of work do you do?

CHRIS:  I’m originally from a small town called Thatcher in Arizona.  I’m an animator by trade but have been teaching myself filmmaking for the last 3.5 years.  I was laid off from a long-time animation job in March and am looking at it as a blessing in disguise and jumping into filmmaking with both feet!  I’m one of 14 kids and have been married for 5 years.

VCN:  Have you entered any other video contests before?

CHRIS:  We only entered one other contest a few years ago for Wonderful Pistachos.  Our ad was okay in the idea department, but the execution was pretty terrible.  It was the first thing I shot on the camera I’d bought so I was still figuring out how to use it.  It was fun though!  We didn’t win, but we learned a lot.

VCN:  What inspired you to enter the Crash the Super Bowl contest?

CHRIS:  My writing partner Richard Price and I have wanted to enter for a while, but it took finding not only an idea that we believed in, but an idea we could afford to shoot.  So this year we felt we had a shot.

VCN:  Where did the idea for Office Thief come from?

CHRIS:  We wanted to think of something a lot of people could relate to since if it airs it’ll be shown to 100+ million people.  So we figured so many people can relate to opening the break room fridge and seeing that your sandwich is missing.  From there we added the element of an incredibly guilty employee in complete and utter denial and even disgust at being accused, and we knew we had a complete joke.

VCN:  What was production like?  What kind of camera did you use?  And how many people were on your crew?

CHRIS:  We shot it on a Panasonic HPX170 with Redrock 35mm adapter on a bunch of used Nikon primes.  We had a crew of about 8.  Mostly friends helping out.

On the set of "Office Thief"

On the set of “Office Thief”

VCN:  How did you find out that you had made the semi-finals?  Did you think you had a shot at making the Top 5?

CHRIS:  Doritos called me to say that we were in the semi-finals and I almost passed out.  It was an amazing feeling!  But I never dreamed we’d make the top 5.  Mostly because we were aware of what kinds of ads Doritos picks, and we weren’t sure if ours fell into that/those categories.

VCN:  How (and when) did you find out that you made the finals?

CHRIS:  I found out mid-December.  Stan Lee himself called me!  I didn’t believe it was him for about half the call, but by the end of it I was just shaking from excitement.  He congratulated me and we talked about my spot.  I thought it was so cool that he’d actually seen it and had stuff to say about it!

VCN:  What happened after you got the news?

CHRIS:  I immediately called my writing partner Richard Price and my wife Lindsey.  They both freaked out!  It was really cool to share the news.  The orientation was really interesting.  (Dan’s note: Every year, Frito-Lay flies all the finalists to their HQ in Plano, TX so they can meet each other and shoot some promo videos.)  I got to meet the other finalists and see what our competition would be.  We talked with the PR guys and kind of nailed down the best ways to talk about ourselves and our spot, did a mock interview, etc. It was really fun!

VCN:  What have you been doing to promote your entry?

CHRIS:  We’ve been reaching out to literally everyone we’ve ever known and asking them to vote daily and share it with friends, family, etc.  It’s been a very stressful process and some of time I wonder if I’ll ever be sane again.  But we love it!  We’ve got a few people on our side with some really great networks and outreach so we’re trying to take advantage of that as much as possible.

VCN:  Are you psyched for the super bowl?  Who are you taking as your guest?

CHRIS:  I can’t wait to go to the game!  It’ll be so fun.  I’m taking Richard Price with me as my guest, as he and I came up with the spot together.

VCN:  Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

CHRIS:  We’d love everyone’s support!  We’re just a couple of guys and I think we really represent who this contest is meant for, so any help on the voting front is very much welcome!  You can go to www.voteofficethief.com to see our spot, vote and learn more about us.  Here’s a direct link to voting: http://bit.ly/VoteOfficeThief

We also have a facebook page, and of course the usual twitter and instagram.

VCN:  Thanks for the interview Chris and good luck!

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