VCN reviews the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finalists

Well the wait is finally over!  At 8PM EST last night Doritos revealed their 5 finalists for the 2012-2013 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  The announcement came in the form of a video hosted by the “Doritos Girl” Ali Landry (who somehow looks hotter now than she did in her Dorito ad 15 years ago.)  FritoLay saw a MASSIVE drop in the number of entries they received this year and to me it seemed like the pickings were pretty slim.  But the Crash the Super Bowl judges managed to put together a decent list of finalists.  Each of the 2013 winners will receive $25,000 and a trip for two to the Super Bowl next month.  And the finalists are….

1.  Goat 4 Sale by Ben Callner of Atlanta, Georgia

2.  Road Chip by Tyler Dixon of Los Angeles, California

3.  Fashionista Daddy by Mark Freiburger of Los Angeles, California

4.  Express Checkout by Sasha Shemirani of San Diego, California

5.  Fetch by Joe Taranto of Los Angeles, California

Overall this is a very interesting top 5.  All the selected ads feel like Crash the Super Bowl commercials but I suspect that maybe Friotlay brought in some fresh judges this year.  These picks are just sorta different than the stuff that normally makes the finals (and that’s a good thing.)  Ok, time for my reviews!
 

GOAT 4 SALE:  This might just be my new, all-time favorite Crash the Super Bowl entry.  I freaking love this ad.  It’s a perfect little 30 second short film.  The actors are great, the cinematography is fantastic, the pacing is perfect and the goat is destined to become a super star.  One of the best things about this commercial is that it actually does a good job of selling the featured product.  Watching Goat 4 Sale makes me want to fill my cabinets with Doritos and scarf down a whole bagful.  This year a public vote will choose one Doritos ad to air during the Super Bowl and then Fritolay will pick a second ad that will also air.  The team that made Goat 4 Sale shouldn’t even waste their time asking for votes because there is no way in heck that FritoLay won’t chose to run this spot during the big game.  This commercial is awesomely hilarious from beginning to end which means it will get a huge score in USA Today’s Ad Meter poll.  So if Goat 4 Sale airs during the Super Bowl it will be ranked one of the Top 3 ads of the game and honestly, I think it will actually take the #1 spot in a walk.  Plus after the game millions of people would go online so they can re-watch this ad.  That shot of the goat screaming will probably wind up being one of the most memorable moments of Super Bowl XLVII.
 

ROAD CHIP:  This one isn’t laugh-out-loud funny but it’s well made and I like it.  It’s pretty obvious that this ad was created by a director who really understands what it takes to win the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  (He’s made the finals 3 times now!)  Obviously super adorable dogs are good and obviously clever babies are good but if you feature a baby and a dog in your ad you’re probably going to score some major points with the focus groups that review the shortlist of potential CTSB finalists.  So sometimes it pays to pander! And I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, I’m being serious…this contest is about making a commercial that will be as popular as possible with as many viewers as possible and people just happen to like commercials that feature dogs and babies so filmmakers might as well give the people what they want. I don’t think this ad would make the top 3 on the Ad Meter but I do think it has a better shot than any of the other non-goat-themed finalists.
 

FASHIONISTA DADDY:  This pick really surprised me.  I think it’s cute and funny and very slick but it’s not very…oh I don’t know…epic.  This seems like the kind of video that might win $7,500 in a Poptent assignment.  Usually Crash the Super Bowl ads feel more original than this.  The “tough guys dress in drag” premise has been totally done to death, hasn’t it? Why would Doritos pick an ad with such a played out concept? I also don’t see this spot doing very well on the Ad Meter.  I think viewers will enjoy it and the wedding dress joke at the end is funny but the Super Bowl is when advertisers bring out their big guns.  This ad just won’t be able to beat whatever crazy commercials Bud Light or E-Trade or Volkswagon air.  Again, I do sorta kinda like Fashionista Daddy but no one is going to jump on the Internet after the game to re-watch this one.
 

EXPRESS CHECKOUT:  I like this one and I think it’s neat that Doritos actually picked a subtle video that isn’t filled with cute dogs and wacky toddlers.  This might sound weird but my favorite part of the ad is when the Kristen Schaal-esque checkout girl whispers “no” to the jerk in line.  The director of this ad clearly has a strong talent for directing actors.  All the characters play their roles just right.  If the jerk in line had been a little jerkier it would have ruined this spot.  And if the Kristen Schaal girl hadn’t gotten mad at the jerk it would have made her seem mean.  The bad news is that like “Fashionista Daddy” this ad probably wouldn’t score very well on the USA Today ad meter.  It’s a nice little short film but it would get lost in the shuffle on Super Bowl sunday.
 

FETCH:  I have mixed feelings about this ad.  It’s fun and well made and very amusing but it’s very similar to the 2012 CTSB finalist ad “Hot Wild Girls.”  In Hot Wild Girls, two guys gets wishes from a Siri-like smartphone app.  They ask for Doritos and they magically appear.  Then they ask for some “Hot Wild Girls” and the phone thinks the guy asked for “Three Rottweilers.” So three Rottweilers show up and chase the guys away.  It’s pretty obvious that the writer of Fetch was ahem….inspired by Hot Wild Girls.  The plots are basically identical; the stars of both ads discover a magical thing that can bring them whatever they ask for.  They ask for Doritos and then they ask for hot women.  But the magical thing misunderstands and conjures up a scary animal that chases the guys away.  I’m really disappointed that Doritos chose to reward such a blatant act of copy-cattery. It’s a funny and well done copy but that doesn’t change the fact that the writer lifted the concept from a previous winner. Ok, just for the heck of it I’ll post Hot Wild Girls. Watch it and decide for yourself whether or not it “inspired” Fetch.
 

 
And now, here are a few random observations I have about this set of finalists:

-ONLY 1 REPEAT FINALIST MADE IT THIS YEAR This is a real surprise.  Last year 3 of the 5 selected ads were shot by filmmakers who had already seen their work make the top 5.  That’s pretty strange when you consider that last year the odds of making the finals were about 1 in 1,200. I did an interview with some of the top CTSB judges and posted an article that outlined the reasons why I thought the Crash kept getting so many repeat winners.  (For example, past winners had become friends with many of the judges during their trip to the Super Bowl.)  I don’t know if Doritos changed the way that they pick their finalists but I have a feeling that something was done about the problem since a lot of former finalists entered again but only one made the top 5.  UPDATE: Several sharp-eyed readers have messaged me to let me know that Fasionista Daddy was actually created by several guys that are affiliated with a team from Mosaic Church in LA who have written and produced 3 or 4(!) previous Crash the Super Bowl finalists including “Sling Baby” which won a million dollars last year. So….these dudes won a million bucks last year and even that didn’t get them to retire.

-THE DIRECTOR OF “ROAD CHIP” HAS MADE THE FINALS 3 YEARS IN A ROW:  The one former finalist who did manage to make the top 5 again this year is Tyler Dixon.  Dixon has now managed to make the finals in 2013, 2012 and 2011.  (That might sound shocking but last year a director named Kevin Willson made the finals for a 3rd time.)  Dixon’s entries are always pretty good but it’s impossible to deny that being a former finalist has given him a tremendous advantage over the rest of the filmmakers in this competition.  Another former finalist (that Dixon met at the Super Bowl in 2011) helped him make “Road Chip” and he was able to use his track record and the cash that he’s won to produce a professional-quality commercial.  According to the announcement video, Dixon looked at 100 different dogs and auditioned more than 40 toddlers before casting the adorable duo featured in Road Chip.  Most CTSB hopefuls have to use their own goofy dog and cast their buddy’s kid. Even the most professional entrants would be lucky to find a few real child actors interested in auditioning.  But if you’ve already won this contest twice and if your previous Doritos commercials have already aired on TV the whole process of making an entry becomes much, much easier.  Who wouldn’t want to work with someone who has proved that they can get really, really close to winning a million dollars in this contest?  Don’t get me wrong, I think Mr. Dixon is a talented guy and Road Chip is a pretty good commercial but just because you can spend a bunch of money and cast the best actors and get the best crew and make the finals every year doesn’t mean you should.  If you’ve already created 2 commercials that have aired on TV and if one of those ads actually aired during the SuperBowl then maybe it’s time to relinquish your amateur status, get a manager and become a professional commercial director. You don’t need to keep trying to win a million dollars, just go get a job with an agency and earn a million dollars.

-ONLY 2 OF THE 5 WINNING ADS FEATURED DOGS:  Commercials that feature dogs tend to do pretty well on the USA Today Ad Meter so for the last few years Doritos has gone dog-crazy.  But this year they only picked 2 dog-themed ads which is a nice change of pace.

-LITTLE GIRLS ARE THE NEW DOGS!:  I guess Fritolay must have gotten some focus group data that revealed that people love commercials that feature precocious little girls.  Doritos almost never picks ads that feature kids so it is kind of surprising that they’d pick two little girl-themed ads in one year.

-ALL 5 WINNING FILMMAKERS ARE DUDES:  Women might make up 51% if the population but they make up 0% of the winners of this year’s Crash the Super Bowl Contest.  There’s not really a lot FritoLay can do about this I guess but in the 6 years Doritos has been running this contest I think that only like 3 women have ever made the top 5 and that’s sort of a shame.

-NONE OF THE ADS STAR NON-WHITE ACTORS.  Again, I guess there’s nothing much Doritos could do about this but filmmakers….seriously, a little diversity will HELP your entry, not hurt it.  Hmm, I wonder if any of the 40 little girls that auditioned for Road Chip where black, Hispanic or Asian.  At least the director of Fashionista Daddy took a page out of Bud Light’s playbook and cast a multi-racial group of buddies.

-NONE OF THE FINALISTS ARE VERY “EXPLOSIVE.”  When Doritos launched this year’s Crash they implied that contestants might want to make their entries exciting, explosive or action packed since Michael Bay was going to help pick this year’s winners.  Well, I guess Michael Bay’s tastes have changed and he now prefers frilly tea parties and giggling toddlers over giant robots and graphic shoot outs.

-ALL 5 FINALISTS WERE UP FOR “NACHO AVERAGE AD AWARDS:  Ok, I did not see this coming.  All of the entries that made the finals had already been singled out by Doritos and nominated for Nacho Average Ad awards.  I really thought that Doritos would keep a few of the finalists in their pocket but I guess if you didn’t make the “Nacho Ad” shortlist you didn’t have a shot of making the final 5.

-I PREDICTED 2 OF THE 5 FINALISTS CORRECTLY!:  About 3,000 commercials were submitted to the Crash this year but by golly I was able to spot 2 finalists ahead of time; Goat 4 Sale and Road Chip.  I also listed 4 other possible contenders and that list included Fetch.  So I did pretty good this year but I’m seriously bummed that It’s a Trap didn’t make it.  That one was awesome.

Voting is now open and you can vote once a day for your favorite ad from now until January 29th.  I’ll be voting for Goat 4 Sale even though I’m sure it’s a lock for the Super Bowl.  Head here to watch the finalists and cast your vote.  But be warned, Doritos’ facebook app freaking sucks and every time you vote an ad for Doritos will basically pop up in your timeline.  After a month your friends are really going to be annoyed with all the “So-and-so cast a vote in the Crash the Super Bowl contest!” messages in their news feed.  I’m actually working on an article that explains how Doritos’ Facebook app almost ruined this year’s competition so check back here next week for that story.

One final note; VCN always gets a lot of new readers this time of year. If you’re new to the blog, thanks for visiting!  Be sure to bookmark us and/or follow us on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing: https://twitter.com/beardy_vcn
 

It’s back! The Crash The Super Bowl contest returns on September 19th!

It’s on, mother f%&#er.

It’s official! On Wednesday night Doritos announced that The Crash the Super Bowl contest will indeed return for the 2012-2013 season.  This will be the 6th time Fritolay has run this promotion (7 if you count the musical version from 2008) and it sounds like they’ve got some big changes in store this year.  So far, no specific details have been released other than this brief announcement that was posted to Dortitos’ official facebook page:

“BIG NEWS! Crash the Super Bowl is BACK. This marks the 7th straight year of hilarious Super Bowl commercials created by you guys. It’s definitely our favorite part of the game. Check back here on September 19 for more details and some even bigger news.”

I don’t know what the “bigger news” can be but I do have one theory about how the CTSB contest might be different this year.  Here’s a link to the Crash the Super Bowl website:  www.crashthesuperbowl.com  Click it and see what happens.

Did you click it?  No?  Good for you.  Don’t ever let a blog tell you what to do.  Anyways, the link sends you right to Dortios’ Facebook page and not to the Crash the Superbow website.  This could mean one of two things:

1.  The re-direct is temporary while the folks at Doritos get the CTSB website ready.

2.  The entire Crash the Super Bowl contest is going to be run through facebook this year.

I can’t imagine how one facebook page could handle millions of views, thousands of video uploads and hundreds of thousands of votes but I’m sure an army of facebook geniuses could pull it off.  Plus last year the CTSB contest did sort of have a facebook component to it since fans could vote for their favorite ads in USA Today’s online ad meter poll.  It would be a big undertaking but the amount of free social media exposure Doritos would get would be mind-boggling.

Over the last month or so I’ve noticed that probably 500 people a week are visiting this website for the first time after googling phrases like “when will the Crash the Super Bowl contest be announced?”  If you are new to VCN, be sure to bookmark us!  We cover the Doritos contest like crazy every year and I even try and predict which ads will make the finals.  (I’ve always managed to get a few right!) We’ll be posting more info about the 2013 contest as soon as we have it. So stay tuned…

UPDATE:  According to Doritos:  “Full details will be revealed during a not-to-be-missed announcement webcast taking place at www.crashthesuperbowl.com at 8 p.m. EDT / 5 p.m. PDT on Sept. 19, 2012. A recording of the event will be available on the Doritos Facebook page following the live announcement.”
 

A Crash the Super Bowl Bummer: Three of the five 2012 finalists were made by past winners

Wait...WTF?

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 CasketUPDATE: 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.

When will the 2012 Crash the Super Bowl contest be announced?

It might still be early August but it’s already starting to feel a little bit like Fall.  Every year, as the summer starts to wind down I see a steady climb in traffic to this website and it can always be attributed to one thing; filmmakers looking for news about Doritos’ upcoming Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I can even tell what search terms readers put into google to get here and already I’m seeing lots of “keyword phrases” like:  will doritos do crash the superbowl 2012, doritos superbowl contest, super bowl commercial contest 2012 and crash the superbowl XLVI. And those are just from the last 12 hours!

So video contest filmmakers are certainly ready to “Crash” the Super Bowl.  But is Fritolay?  Will the contest even be brought back for 2012?  The answer is YES.  I have confirmation that the CTSB contest will be run again for the 2011/2012 season.  In fact, Fritolay and Pepsico have been planning for this installment since before the last Crash was even finished.  Here’s a little blurb about the 2012 contest from an article that ran in USA Today right after Super Bowl 35 in February.  The story was about how some companies were trying to get extra mileage out of their Super Bowl ads by releasing them online before the big game:

The brands are “rethinking” the Crash the Super Bowl promo for the 2012 game in a way that will involve more social media, says Rudy Wilson, marketing vice president at Frito-Lay.

Really it’s no surprise that Doritos would bring the contest back for 2012 since the last installment was such a big hit.  But the “social media” stuff worries me a bit.  I hope to God it doesn’t mean people will be voting for entries on facebook!

So now that you know the Crash is on for sure, the new question is, when can you start filming?  Well, not for a few more weeks.  The full details of the contest should be announced in mid-September and the submission period will probably begin about 2 weeks later and run until early November  Oh but there is one detail I can mention.  From what I have read, it looks like once again the Crash will have two categories and you can shoot an ad for Doritos And/or an ad for a Pepsi product. (I suspect it will be Pepsi Max again.)

If you’ve stumbled across this website while looking for details about this year’s CTSB contest, be sure to bookmark us and check back often for updates.  VideoContestNews.com is the ONLY site on the web that actively covers the Crash as it unfolds.  Also, if you’re too anxious to wait to get to work, maybe you should check out the details of Chevy’s new consumer-generated Super Bowl commercial contest:  http://www.chevroletroute66.com

9/7/2011 UPDATE: Yesterday the NFL announced the details of some of the long term deals they had struck with advertisers. And they confirmed that Fritolay will once again be running the crash the Super Bowl contest this year. So you can expect the contest to be officially announced very soon! Here’s the full (but brief) story: http://goo.gl/Jt3WM

Chevy wants to air your video during the Super Bowl!

The start of this year’s NFL season is still 3 months away but this morning at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Chevrolet announced they would be airing 5 commercials during Super Bowl XLVI in February…and one of those ads will be a 30 to 60 second long, consumer-generated “short film” about the spirit of the open road.  So get ready folks because Chevy is “Crashing” the 2012 Super Bowl!

But unlike Doritos’ annual “Crash the Superbowl” contest, Chevy will not be running this promotion themselves.  Instead, the Chevy competition will be hosted and run by the video contest website,  Mofilm.  In fact, this morning’s big announcement was made at the Mofilm seminar in Cannes.

Surprisingly, this is going to be  a GLOBAL video contest so you don’t need to be a US citizen to enter.  The contest will be run in two stages; the Script phase and the Video phase.  You have the option of submitting to either or both phases.  So if you don’t submit a script, you can still shoot a video.  Here’s what Mofilm and Chevy are asking screenwriters to do:

The script for your film should be an epic road trip story or adventure that captures the spirit of Route 66 and Chevrolet! The top five scripts will win serious cash. We will provide feedback on all scripts which will give you a jump start should you decide to produce a video in Round Two.

Yes, you read that correctly.  The sponsors will give feedback on ALL scripts that are submitted.  That’s huge!  It means that anyone who submits to the script phase will have a tremendous advantage when it comes time to shoot their video.  There are 5 cash prizes in the script competition ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.  Once the script competition ends, a new contest brief for the Video Phase will be launched on September 1st.

If your entry is selected as the winner of the Video Phase, your short will air during the Super Bowl and you’ll receive $25,000.  And while this hasn’t been officially announced yet, the folks at Mofilm tell me that the winner will also get a trip to the Big Game.

So how the heck do you win?  Well, the winners will be picked by a mix of public voting and judge’s decisions. However, Joel Ewanick, global chief marketing officer at General Motors told The New York Times that while votes will “have a great deal of influence,” the “final say” will be his.  So I think we need to wait for the official rules before we know how the winners will actually be chosen.  But I’m very glad to hear that votes alone will not determine the winner.

All of this is really exciting news.  Last year, Pepsi Max and Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest recived more than 5,000 entries and they aired 6 user-made ads.  Getting something to air during the SuperBowl would be an amazing accomplishment but a 6 in 5,000 shot aren’t very appealing odds.  So if you’re going to enter one HUGE video contest this year, “Route 66” might be your best bet.  I personally am going to make the Chevy Super Bowl contest my top priority for the second half of 2011.  The deadline to enter is December 1st but I think I’m going to get to work on this ASAP.  The contest was literally just announced like an hour ago so not all of the pertinent info is up on the site yet. But if you want to get a jump on the competition, follow the link below:

Chevrolet Route 66: Super Bowl competition: http://www.mofilm.com/chevroletroute66