This year Doritos received more than 4,500 entries for the Crash the Super Bowl contest and on December 1st the judges over at Frito-Lay whittled that number down to 50 Semi-Finalists. 50 may seem like a big number and it is; last year there were only 25 semi-finalists. But since this is the final CTSB contest and since 2016 marks the company’s 50th anniversary the sponsors decided to go big and pick 50 ads for the next round of judging. In January, the judges will pick just 3 finalists and then a few weeks of public voting will commence. The ad that gets the most votes will win a million bucks and air during the Super Bowl. The other two finalists will each receive $100,000. The 47 Semi-Finalists who don’t make the Top 3 will receive $2,000 a piece.
I’ve watched all 50 Semi-Finalists and I’m very impressed with the judges picks this year. Last year’s slate of Semi-Finalists included some real clunkers. It seemed like the judges intentionally some gross or sexy ads because they wanted to milk some extra views from videos that had no chance of making the finals. But this time around it seems like the judges really wanted to target millennials. A lot of the entries feature the quick cuts and tongue-in-cheek absurdist humor that you’ll see in a lot of popular Vines or Youtube videos. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Over the last few years I’ve seen at least a dozen entries that used the title “Paranormal Snacktivity” but this is the first one that actually made me laugh:
I thought that was pretty great. In any other year I would say this entry was a shoo-in for the finals. But I think at least 40% of the Semi-Finalists are good enough to make it to the Top 3. Here are a few other entries that I really enjoyed. The first one is probably my favorite….
I went though all the semi-finalists and I jotted down some raw data. Here are some random factoids:
- 45 of 50 semi-finalists are men
- 5 of 50 semi-finalists are women
- 41 of 50 semi-finalists are from the USA
- 9 of 50 semi-finalists are from other countries
- 4 semi-finalists are from Australia
- Israel, Canada, Romania, Denmark and the Netherlands each had one semi-finalist.
One more fun fact: As far as I can tell, only ONE past finalist made it to the semi-finals this year. The one repeater I spotted is Jonathan Friedman. In 2012 his Doritos ad Man’s Best Friend aired during the Super Bowl and won the million dollar grand prize. Usually I’m kind of critical of past winners who enter the contest again but since this is the final Crash I figure all bets are off. Plus this director happened to make my favorite ad in the Top 50 (the one with the guy who faints when he sees Doritos.) I’m sure some other past finalists made the cut so if anyone recognizes any names, please let me know.
This year it’s going to tough to predict which ads will make the finals but I’ll post my picks for the Top 3 later this month. Feel free to share your own thoughts about the semi-finalists in the comment section below!