We’re now less than 2 weeks away from the deadline for the 2015 installment of Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. I’m guessing that the vast majority of entries will be shot this weekend or next so I think this is a good time to post my annual list of EVERY single ad that has ever made the Crash the Super Bowl finals. I recommend that you and your teammates watch all of these videos before you go out and shoot your entry. It will really help everyone understand exactly what types of videos get picked for the finals. If I tried to embed 36 youtube videos in one post my whole site would crash so instead I’ve posted screen shots of each entry. If you’d like to watch the actual video, just click its image.
. 2013 – 2014 finalists:
Time Machine. CTSB VIII finalist. (2014) -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: One Million dollar grand prize.
Cowboy Kid. CTSB VIII finalist. (2014) -Aired during the Super Bowl. $50,000 2nd Place Winner.
Breakroom Ostrich. CTSB VIII finalist. (2014)
Office Thief. CTSB VIII finalist. (2014)
Finger Cleaner. CTSB VIII finalist.
. 2012 – 2013 finalists:
Goat 4 Sale. CTSB VII finalist. (2013) -Aired during the Super Bowl.
Fashionista Daddy. CTSB VII finalist. (2013)-Aired during the Super Bowl.
Road Chip. CTSB VII finalist. (2013) -Aired during the Super Bowl.
Express Checkout. CTSB VII finalist. (2013)
Fetch. CTSB VII finalist. (2013)
. 2011 – 2012 finalists:
Man’s Best Friend. CTSB VI finalist. (2012) -Aired During the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today ad meter bonus.
Sling Baby. CTSB VI finalist. (2012)-Aired During the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar Facebook ad meter bonus
Bird of Prey. CTSB VI finalist. (2012)
Dog Park. CTSB VI finalist. (2012)
Hot Wild Girls. CTSB VI finalist. (2012)
. 2010 – 2011 finalists:
Pug Attack. CTSB V finalist. (2011) -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today ad meter bonus.
The Best Part. CTSB V finalist. (2011)-Aired during the Super Bowl.
Adam and Eve. CTSB V finalist. (2011)
Birthday Wish. CTSB V finalist. (2011)
House Sitting. CTSB V finalist. (2011) -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $400,000 ad meter bonus
. 2009 – 2010 finalists:
Underdog. CTSB IV finalist. (2010) -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $600,000 Ad Meter bonus.
Snack Attack Samurai. CTSB IV finalist. (2010) -Aired during the Super Bowl.
The Smackout. CTSB IV finalist. (2010)
Casket. CTSB IV finalist. (2010) -Aired during the Super Bowl.
House Rules. CTSB IV finalist. (2010)-Aired during the Super Bowl.
Kids These Days. CTSB IV finalist. (2010)
. 2008 – 2009 finalists:
Free Doritos. CTSB III finalist. (2009) -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today Ad meter bonus.
New Flavor Pitch. CTSB III finalist. (2009)
Power of the Crunch. CTSB III finalist. (2009)-Aired During the Super bowl.
The Chase. CTSB III finalist. (2009)
Too Delicious. CTSB III finalist. (2009)
NOTE: Doritos did not run a commercial contest in 2008-2009. Instead, CTSB II was a music-themed contest.
. 2006 – 2007 finalists:
Live the Flavor. CTSB I finalist. (2007) WINNER: Aired during the Super Bowl.
Check Out Girl. CTSB I finalist. (2007) -Also during the 2007 Super Bowl.
Mouse Trap. CTSB I finalist. (2007)-Aired a year later during the 2008 Super Bowl.
Today is Monday, October 8th which means the 2012-2013 Crash the Super Bowl contest is officially open and accepting entries. As of right you have just 40 days to shoot, edit and upload your Doritos commercials. I’m sure that most of you are already working on your ideas but before you start filming, you should take some time to do a little research. If you want to win the Crash the Super Bowl contest you need to understand what types of ads make the finals. Doritos used to have all the past Crash the Super Bowl winners posted to a single youtube channel but for some dumb reason, those official videos have all been taken down. So if you want to see all the winning ads you’re going to have to hunt for them all over youtube. Or you could just scroll down because I did the hunting for you! Links to every Doritos finalist from the past 6 years are below. I would have just embedded the videos but 30 embedded youtube videos in one post pretty much would crash my site. So each ad is represented by a screenshot. To watch the actual commercials, click on the images:
2011-2012 Doritos Finalists:
Man’s Best Friend by Jonathan Friedman of Virginia Beach, VA. -Aired During the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today ad meter bonus
Sling Baby by Kevin T. Willson of Los Angeles, CA. -Aired During the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar Facebook ad meter bonus
Bird of Prey by Joby Harris of Los Angeles, CA.
Dog Park by Tyler Dixon of Liegh, UT.
Hot Wild Girls by Brad Scott of Denver, CO.
2010-2011 Doritos Finalists:
Pug Attack by JR Burningham of Burbank, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today ad meter bonus.
The Best Part by Tyler Dixon of Lehi, Utah. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
Adam and Eve by Stephen Schuster of Topanga, CA.
Birthday Wish by Heather Kasprzak of Los Angeles, CA.
House Sitting by Tynesha Williams of Santa Monica, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $400,000 ad meter bonus
Underdog by William Kyle Gerardiof Cary, NC. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $600,000 Ad Meter bonus.
Snack Attack Samurai by Ben Krueger of Minneapolis, MN. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
The Smackout by Brendan Hayward of Santa Monica, CA.
Casket by Kevin Wilson of Whittier, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
House Rules by Joelle De Jesus of Los Angeles, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
Kids These Days by Nick Dimondi of Cary, NC.
Free Doritos by Joe Herbert of Batesville, IN. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today Ad meter bonus.
New Flavor Pitch by Oren Brimer of New York, NY.
Power of the Crunch by Eric Heimbold of Venice, CA. -Also aired During the Super bowl.
The Chase by Chris Roberts of Burbank, CA.
Too Delicious by Michael Goubeaux of Los Angeles, CA.
— 2007-2008: No Commercial contest —
1. Live the Flavor by Five Points Productions of Cary, NC. -WINNER: Aired during the Super Bowl.
Check Out Girl by Kristin C. Dehnert of Los Angeles, CA. -Also aired during the 2007 Super Bowl.
Mouse Trap by Billy Federighi of Beverly Hills, CA. -Aired the next year during the 2008 Super Bowl.
Chip Lover’s Dream by Jared Cicon of Claremont, CA.
Did you know that there’s no wikipedia entry for Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest? Is that weird or what? Everything has a Wikipedia entry. For God’s Sake, the Nickelodeon show “Hey Dude” which ran from 1989 to 1991 has a massive Wikipedia page complete with episode guides. (I clicked the “Random Article” button on Wikipedia and the Hey Dude entry was the first one to pop up) Over the last two and half year’s I’ve written dozens of articles about “The Crash” and I’ve had to spend a lot of time searching the web for information. It would be really helpful if some nerd out there would just compile a bunch of facts about the contest and post them online.
Oh wait….I guess if anyone is nerdy enough to do something like that it’s me. It took me a lot of googling but I’ve found a ton of data about The Crash and I will list it all in this single post. This is going to be just basic stuff like who made the finals, who won, how many entries where received, etc. Please be aware that if you are actually interested in this type of data that pretty much means you are as big of a nerd as I am.
Let’s start with the number of entries the contest has received over the years. Most of these numbers come from old articles or press releases that were put out by Fritolay:
NUMBER OF TOTAL CTSB ENTRIES BY YEAR:
2006/2007 Installment: 1,065 Doritos entries.
2007/2008: No commercial contest that season.
2008/2009 Installment: 1961 Doritos Entries.
2009/2010 Installment: 4023 Doritos Entries
2010/2011 Installment: 4,260 Doritos Entries.
2011/2012 Installment: 6,100 Doritos Entries.
Note: In 2010, Pepsi Max was also part of the Crash the Super Bowl contest. Pepsi Max received 1,460 submissions. But the Pepsi Max “Crash” was pretty much a totally different contest run by a different company and a different set of judges. So for the rest of this article I’m just going to focus on the Doritos contest. And now, time for a graph:
Pretty amazing, huh? This contest has just grown like crazy over the years. Bet you’re kicking yourself right now for not entering back in 2006. So it looks like the number of submissions doubled after the 2008/2009 Crash the Super Bowl contest. But why? Probably because the winner of the 2009 contest, Free Doritos scored the #1 spot on the USA Today ad meter poll and the guys who made the ad, Joe and Dave Herbert won a million bucks. After people saw that it was possible for an “average joe” to win the million dollar bonus the contest just blew up.
But this raw data doesn’t tell the whole story. If you’ve entered past installments of the CTSB contest you know that every year, Doritos gets HUNDREDS of duplicate entries. I think the rules say that you can submit up to 10 versions of your commercial. And some people just uploaded their video 10 times. Some probably did it because they were unsure if the initial upload worked. But I think others used to do it just because they thought maybe it would improve their chances.
The repeat entries used to be really annoying. It seemed like for every 100 submissions I watched, at least 20 would be repeats. But fortunately, this year Doritos finally took measures to keep the duplicates out of the video gallery. I’d estimate that only 5% of this season’s submissions were repeats. So just for the fun of it let’s adjust the numbers to account for all the duplicates. I’ll deduct 20% from each total except for 2011. For this year’s total I’ll only deduct 5%.
Now let’s do a little light math. Each year, Doritos picks 5 finalists. (Except in the 09-10 contest when they picked 6 finalists) So it’s easy to calculate a contestant’s chance of making the finals.
ESTIMATED CHANCES OF A VIDEO MAKING THE CTSB FINALS, BY YEAR:
2006/2007 Installment: 1 in 170.
2008/2009 Installment: 1 in 313.
2009/2010 Installment: 1 in 536.
2010/2011 Installment: 1 in 681.
2011/2012 Installment: 1 in 1,159.
Anyone who has watched a few random CTSB entries knows that most of the submissions Doritos receives every year just aren’t that great. But there’s no possible way to estimate what a filmmaker’s odds are if he makes a GOOD submission. So I won’t even try. Let’s move on to a list of who has won the contest over the years. I’ll include the Pepsi Max Crash the Super Bowl finalists just for the heck of it. You can find all of these commercials on the official Crash the Super Bowl channel on youtube.
2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 AND 2012 CRASH THE SUPER BOWL FINALISTS:
1. Live the Flavor by Five Points Productions of Cary, NC. -WINNER: Aired during the Super Bowl.
2. Check Out Girl by Kristin C. Dehnert of Los Angeles, CA. -Also aired during the 2007 Super Bowl.
3. Mouse Trap by Billy Federighi of Beverly Hills, CA. -Aired during the 2008 Super Bowl.
4. Chip Lover’s Dream by Jared Cicon of Claremont, CA.
3. Duct Tape by Joe Herbert of Batesville, IN.
2007-2008: No Commercial contest
1. Free Doritos by Joe Herbert of Batesville, IN. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar bonus.
2. New Flavor Pitch by Oren Brimer of New York, NY.
3. Power of the Crunch by Eric Heimbold of Venice, CA. -Also aired During the Super bowl.
4. The Chase by Chris Roberts of Burbank, CA.
5. Too Delicious by Michael Goubeaux of Los Angeles, CA.
1. Snack Attack Samurai by Ben Krueger of Minneapolis, MN. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
2. The Smackout by Brendan Hayward of Santa Monica, CA.
3. Casket by Kevin Wilson of Whittier, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
4. House Rules by Joelle De Jesus of Los Angeles, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
5. Underdog by Five Points Productions of Cary, NC. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $600,000 Bonus.
6. Kids These Days by Nick Dimondi of Cary, NC
2010-2011 Doritos Finalists:
1. Adam and Eve by Stephen Schuster of Topanga, CA.
2. Best Part by Tyler Dixon of Lehi, Utah. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
3. Birthday Wish by Heather Kasprzak of Los Angeles, CA.
4. House Sitting by Tynesha Williams of Santa Monica, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
5. Pug Attack by JR Burningham of Burbank, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar Bonus.
2010-11 Pepsi Max Finalists:
1. Elevator Girl by Michael Doneger of Los Angeles, CA
2. First Date by Nick Simotas of Anaheim, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl.
3. Love Hurts by Brad Bosley of Los Angeles, CA. -Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $400,000 Bonus.
4. Torpedo Cooler by Brendan Hayward of Santa Monica, CA -Aired during the Super Bowl.
5. Zero Calories? Psshh by Brandy Gill of Orlando, FL
2011-12 Doritos Finalists:
1. Bird of Prey by Joby Harris of Los Angeles, CA.
2. Dog Park by Tyler Dixon of Liegh, UT.
3. Hot Wild Girls by Brad Scott of Denver, CO.
4. Man’s Best Friend by Jonathan Friedman of Virginia Beach, VA.
5. Sling Baby by Kevin T. Willson of Los Angeles, CA.
And finally, since all the news articles and press releases I read always said where the finalists came from, let’s do a breakdown of the states that gave us Crash the Super Bowl finalists:
The 31 Crash the Superbowl commercials came from directors in the following states:
California: 19 commercials
North Carolina: 3 commercials
Utah: 2 commercial
Indiana: 2 commercials
Florida: 1 commercial
New York: 1 commercial
Minnesota: 1 commercial
Colorado: 1 commercial
Virginia: 1 commercial
It should be no surprise that a lot of the winning commercials came from California since so many filmmakers live in the LA area. But what is surprising is that a number of people have made the finals more than once. The 3 North Carolina ads all came from a team known as Five-Points Productions, the 2 commercials from Indiana were both made by the famous Herbert Brothers, the 2 ads from Utah were directed by a filmmaker named Tyler Dixon and 4 of the California commercials (plus 1 of the Utah commercials) were made by a group of friends that all attended the same Church in Los Angeles.
I know that a lot of Crash the Super Bowl finalists (past and present) read this site. So if anyone sees any errors in this post, please let me know!
Last night, just after midnight Doritos revealed the 5 finalists in the 2011/2012 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest. And the results are simply disgusting….but not because the winning ads are terrible. Actually, all 5 of Doritos’ picks are well made and kind of amusing. No, the thing that’s filled me with disgust is WHO made the finals this year. You see, THREE of the FIVE winning ads were made my people who wrote, directed or produced previous Crash the Super Bowl finalist spots. But that’s not all…those three teams are actually all part of a single group of filmmakers from the LA area. But that’s not all either! One of this year’s winning commercials was directed by one 2011 Doritos finalist and produced by a different 2011 Doritos finalist; basically two of last year’s winners decided to join forces this year. So long story short, these results tell us that if you want to win the Crash the Super Bowl contest all you have to do is win the Crash the Super Bowl contest and then enter again the next year.
For the record, the names of the entries that made the Top 5 this year are Sling Baby, Bird of Prey, Hot Wild Girls, Dog Park and Man’s Best Friend. Now please bare with me while I attempt to break down the finalist family tree:
SLING BABY: This spot was directed by a filmmaker named Kevin T. Willson. Amazingly, Willson has now made the Crash the Super Bowl finals THREE YEARS IN A ROW now. In 2010 he directed an ad entitled Casket and in 2011 he directed one entitled Birthday Wish. Both entries made the Doritos finals and Casket aired during the Super Bowl. According to the website, Vote4slingbaby.com, many crew members worked on all three of Willson’s ads. But I only learned about the overlapping crew thanks to google. The Sling Baby site seems to go out of it’s way to avoid mentioning the fact that this team has won this contest twice before. In fact, the “About Us” section states “Sling Baby is home-made by a group of good friends.” Of course the website also lists the names of about 40 crew people including two ADs, a stunt coordinator and an entertainment attorney….not too shabby for a “homemade” commercial. One more interesting fact; Sling Baby actually features the same child actor that starred in Birthday Wish. I’m guessing all of Fritolay’s judges have working eyeballs so they must have realized there was probably a connection between the two spots. But if using the same child actor was too subtle, Sling Baby was submitted under the username “KevinTW.” Even I realized that KevinTW had to be the guy who made Casket and Birthday Wish. It was so obvious that it almost seemed like the director wanted the judges to know it was his spot.
BIRD OF PREY: Kevin Willson’s Casket ad was apparently a very large production and an entire team of filmmakers from Los Angeles all worked on it together. And it seems many of the cast and crew go to a “megachurch” in LA known as Mosaic. From what I’ve read it’s kind of famous for being popular with aspiring actors and filmmakers. (The head of the church, pastor Erwin McManus was actually the “executive producer” of Casket.) I guess Wilson’s success inspired his Casket teammates to try and win the Doritos contest themselves. The result is Bird of Prey. The spot was written and directed by one of the writers/crew members of Casket, Joby Harris. After doing some googling it looks like several people who helped created Bird of Prey are part of the “Mosaic Church” team. Most notably, the stunt coordinator did the stunts for Casket AND Sling Baby. To top it off, Bird of Prey even features the same actor that starred in Casket, David Schultz. In Casket he played the man in the titular Casket and in Bird of Prey he’s the guy who thinks he’s a bird. Again, assuming that the Doritos judges have memories and eyeballs they had to have recognized the lead actor and known the spot had some kind of connection to Casket. UPDATE: In a video posted on the CTSB site, the director of Bird of Prey explains that he was only able to make this ad because he recived a $10,000 gift from someone from his church.
DOG PARK: Now here’s where things get really weird. Dog Park was directed by a filmmaker from Utah named Tyler Dixon. Dixon created the (very funny) ad The Best Part which made the Doritos finals last year. (Remember, it was the one were a McLovin lookalike licked cheese off his co-worker’s fingers?) But Dog Park was produced by a producer from LA named Heather Kasprzak. Kasprzak is also part of the Mosaic church team and she produced Birthday Wish which Kevin Willson (Casket, Sling Baby) directed. Technically, she was one of the five finalists last year since that ad was submitted under her name. I’m guessing that Wilson didn’t enter Birthday Wish under his own name because he thought it might hurt his chances since he had already been to the finals. But anyway…do you get what happened here? The producer of Birthday Wish obviously met the director of The Best Part at the Super bowl last year. At some point they decided to team up and now both of them get to go back to the Super Bowl for the 2nd year in a row. That’s seriously kind of bogus. And like Sling Baby, it seems like the director of Dog Park wanted the judges to know who made this ad. It was submitted under the username “TylerDixon.” (Though I’m kind of being a dick right now I do respect that these guys put their name on their ads. If it was intentional there was a real chance the plan could have backfired.)
So it’s all a little too incestuous, isn’t it? I’m disappointed that these three entries made the finals this year because it proves that the Crash the Super Bowl contest is totally and completely broken. This year, Fritolay recived a whopping 6,100 entries. That means the odds of making the final five are 1 in 1,220. So, how in the world is it possible that 3 of the 5 teams of finalists all know each other, go to the same church in LA and have won the contest before?? There are only three explanations:
1. The wining teams just happen to be made of up of some of the greatest commercial writers/directors/actors in the country.
2. The Hollywood Branch of Mosaic Church in LA has pleased God so much that he keeps bestowing his blessings (in the form of cash and trips to the Super Bowl) on its parishioners.
3. Being a finalist in the Crash the Super Bowl contest one year gives a filmmaker a tremendous advantage the next year.
Obviously (and hopefully) the answer to this mystery is Explanation #3. Over the years, there have been a number of people who have been able to make the Top 5 more than once. Off the top of my head I can think of 4 times it’s happened and that’s not counting Kevin Wilson who will now be taking his third trip to the Super Bowl. So WHY does being a finalist one year give you such a huge edge over the competition the next year? Here are a few possible reasons:
1. MONEY: The biggest and most obvious factor is money. That’s all there is to it. Of the 6,100 entries Doritos received this year, I would guess that only about 60 submissions cost more than $1,000 to produce. Real “Average Joes” can’t afford to gamble more than a few hundred dollars on their videos. And really, I’m guessing most CTSB submissions cost under $50 to make. So if you spend enough money and if you use the right camera (Doritos loves ads that are shot with RED cameras) then you pretty much are automatically a serious contender for the Top 5.
But Sling Baby, Bird of Prey and Dog Park all must have cost a small fortune to produce. All three seem to have been shot with the aforementioned RED cameras which cost well over $1,000 a day to rent. (I bet all 3 ads were even shot with the same exact camera.) I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the three finalist ads in question probably each cost $3,000 to $6,000 to make. Like I said, a broke-ass filmmaker in Des Moines can’t afford to spend that much cash on a “spec” commercial. But you know who can? Someone who won a $25,000 finalist prize in the previous installment of The Crash. Former finalists have a huge advantage because they are able to invest their winnings into new entries. It’s a hell of a smart investment. Former finalists understand that they will have an edge over the competition (for the reasons I’m listing now) in this particular contest. Spending $5,000 of their prize money from last year is a no-brainer if it means that they might have a shot at winning a million bucks this year. These people are not the greatest commercial directors in the country. It’s just that low budgets inhibit the creativity of a filmmaker. There is no cheap way to make an ad like Sling Baby or Dog Park. As I said, it took about 40 people to make Sling Baby. The thing that separates the repeat winners from the Average Joes is cold, hard cash and the willingness to spend it. If you picked a few contestants at random and gave them $5,000 to spend I bet you’d get at least a few commercials that were funnier and more clever than Sling Baby, Bird of Prey or Dog Park.
2. INSIDE INFORMATION. Former finalists understand the Crash the Super Bowl contest in a way that most contestants can’t imagine. They basically get to spend several days partying with other winners and the contest judges at the Super Bowl. It’s an amazing opportunity to pick the brains of professional ad executives and the people in charge of the contest. Finalists get to see how the contest works from the inside. I think the reason so many finalist enter this contest year after year is because they understand that Doritos needs to pick professional looking ads that will look good playing on an HD TV on Super Bowl sunday. So finalists know that if they spend enough money they can maybe just BUY a spot in the finals. It’s sad but true. And 99% of the people who enter this contest don’t know that. They just think that if they shoot a hilarious ad with their flip camera they have a fair and square shot of making the finals….but they don’t.
3. SPECIAL ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND TALENT: Once a filmmaker makes the CTSB finals they automatically earn a ton of street cred with other filmmakers. If you made a commercial that aired during goddamn Super Bowl you better believe that a lot of doors are going to fly open the next time you need help on a big shoot. Seriously, what actor or crew member wouldn’t want to work on the CTSB entry of a person who already won the CTSB contest? And can anyone honestly say that the team that made Dog Park didn’t have an unfair advantage here? Dog Park would never have been made if the producer and the director didn’t meet at the Super Bowl last year. Is it really fair that winners are allowed to join forces, pool their winnings and form a super-team?
4. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE JUDGES: As I mentioned, when you win the Crash the Super Bowl contest you basically get to spend a week at the Super Bowl with the people who run the contest. You go to dinner with them every night, you go to big parties with them, hell, you get drunk in a skybox at the Super Bowl with them. The reps from Fritolay and Goodby/Silverstein (The ad firm that manages the contest) get to know the finalists very well. Is it really that hard to imagine that some judges might have a soft spot for some of the previous finalists? This year, Kevin Wilson (to his credit) submitted Sling Baby under his own name. So the judges knew who made that spot. Wilson made the finals in 2010 and 2011 but he never never won one of the big USA Today Ad Meter bonuses. Is it possible that his friends at Fritolay decided to give him one more shot at the gold medal? We outsiders don’t know how close the contestants and the judges get. Do they stay in touch? Could a previous finalist e-mail someone at Fritolay and say “Hey buddy, I entered the contest again this year and I thought you’d get a kick out of my submissions!”
Whatever the explanation may be, it is now impossible to deny that past finalists have a massive and unfair advantage over the rest of the filmmakers in the competition. It’s ridiculous that literally one small group of filmmakers from one church in LA get so much out of the contest and tens of thousands of filmmakers from the rest of the country get so little. Actually, the people who are going to get screwed the hardest are the two 2012 finalists that made the Top 5 for the first time this year. Because the makers of Sling Baby, Bird of Prey and Dog Park all know each other and go to the same church, they can conspire to make sure that one of the “Mosaic” entries gets enough votes to air during the big game. At the very least, the past finalists already know how to run an online campaign to get votes. Their friends already know “the drill” and they can use all the same resources that they developed last year.
So this is really a sad state of affairs. Normally, we have one big rule here at VCN; DON’T HATE THE PLAYER, HATE THE GAME. You can scream all you want about how stupid the judges of a video contest are but you can’t blame a filmmaker for winning. However in this case I think one 2012 finalist should have retired from competing with “amateurs” by now. It seems borderline unethical to continue to enter every year when you have an unnatural and inappropriate advantage. Just because you can win doesn’t mean you should try. At some point you should step aside and let others get a crack at what is billed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. One of the big points of this contest its that it is supposed to help launch a filmmaker’s career. It was never meant to BE a filmmaker’s carer.
But for the most part, the blame here falls on the shoulders of the judges at Fritolay and the consultants at Goodby, Silversein and Partners. There were plenty of entries that were just as good or better than Sling Baby, Dog Park and Bird of Prey. Why not spread the wealth around a little? Picking the 3 ads that were made by people the judges know casts a disturbing pall over the whole contest. I wouldn’t go so far as to say The Crash was somehow rigged but you gotta admit, this is some seriously fishy business. Insiders have a much, much, much better chance of winning than outsiders do and that just comes off as kind of suspicious. I did mention that the odds of making the finals this year were 1 in 1,220, right?
In my last post I said I would review all 5 finalist ads as soon as they were posted. But this stuff with the repeat finalists caught me off guard. The two videos that were made by first time finalists are actually the best in the bunch. (watch them here) But they also look “homemade” (which I prefer) when compared to a super shiny and expensive ad like Dog Park. Oh yeah…I forgot about the dogs. Turns out if you didn’t put a dog or a baby in your entry you had no chance of winning this year. I’ll do reviews of each winning ad in a few days. Plus I’ll also announce which ad I personally will be voting for. In the mean time, please feel free to share your own opinions in the comment section.
UPDATE: This article seems to have gotten a lot of attention and it looks like we might set a one-day traffic record today. A lot of people have been leaving comments and I really appreciate everything everyone has been saying. It’s nice to know that I’m not crazy and that other people agree that something is wrong if the same exact people win this contest year after year. But a few people are misinterpreting this point of this article so I want to make two clarifications:
CLARIFICATION #1: I am absolutely, positively 100% NOT saying that professionals should be prohibited from entering the Crash the Super Bowl contest. That would be insane. I am also not saying Doritos shouldn’t pick commercials that look professional. All 5 winning ads will eventually air on TV so they MUST be TV quality. And I in no way feel that t is unfair for people spend a lot of money on their entries. People who spend more money are taking a big gamble and I admire their dedication. I have entered the CTSB contest 3 years in a row and one reason I get excited about The Crash is because every year I try and step up my game. The first HD contest entry I ever shot was for this contest and this year I think my submission was one of the most professional looking videos I’ve ever done. I personally feel that I am a much better, stronger and more professional filmmaker because every year I challenge myself by entering the Crash the Super Bowl contest.
So my beef is not with the pros who enter this contest. My beef is with THE SYSTEM that allows the same handful of friends from Southern California to win this contest year after year after year. Former finalist simply have some kind of advantage, Think of it this way; For 28 years, from 1980 until 2008 America had either someone named “Bush” or “Clinton” serving in the white house. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency 4 years ago, the order of the presidents for the last 24 years would have been Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. So ask yourself this question: Are the Bushes and the Clinton’s the greatest politicians of the modern era? Or is it more likely that being an incumbent (or being related to a former president) gives one a serious advantage in presidential politics? What I’m saying is that “politics” may be part of Fritolay’s decision process and that gives former finalists a major leg up on the competition.
CLARIFICATION #2: No where in this article have I said that I think that past winners of the Crash the Super Bowl contest should be prohibited from entering again. That would be very difficult to police since people can just enter under a friends name. But there is no question that Doritos needs to fix this contest so that it more open to the rest of the public. Maybe fritolay should just ASK finalists to take a year off after they make the Top 5. It would be like an honor-system thing. But I should note that one former winner of the CTSB contest actually left a comment to this post and implied that he and his family are no longer eligible to enter this contest….probably because he already won the top prize of one million dollars. So apparently, Fritolay has no problem with forcing some contestants to “retire” after winning.
UPDATE #2: Actually, I’m not going to review all 5 winning ads this year. Readers have really been leaving some insightful comments and I want to explore some of the issues they have been bring up. So watch for new posts about the CTSB contest next week.
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.
BABY DORITOS: This one is just bonkers. But I like it. It probably is too crazy to make the final 5 though:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!)
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.
DORITOS DAD: This one isn’t too crazy or quirky but it’s funny and well made. It could sneak into the Top 5.
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.
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.
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: http://www.gravityandthegirl.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!