The 2012 Crash the Super Bowl Contenders!

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

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

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

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

1.  Un-fixable trademark or copyright violations

2.  Un-fixable rule violations.

3.  Offensive of disgusting content.

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

5.  Very low production values.

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

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

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

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

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

4.  Is it funny, memorable or special?

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

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

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

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

A Day at the Zoo

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

Baby Doritos

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

Bad Monster

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

Bird of Prey

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

Broken Cape

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

Call of the sea

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

Caves and Monsters

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

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

Dodgeball Hustle

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

Doritos Dad

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

Doritos Triangle

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

Food Fight Blitz

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


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


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

Hipster Kids

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

Imaginary Friend

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

Jurassic Karma

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

Kitty Heist

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

Make the Most of it

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

Maybe Next Year

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

My Friend Archie

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

Paint Fight

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


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

Serious Problem

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

Surprisingly Big Taste

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

Tongue Love

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

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

The Best Video Contest entries of 2010

Though January is already 19 days old it still feels like we’re in that gray area between the old year and the new. So before we get too deep into 2011 I thought we could take a look back at the top video contest entries of 2010.

Now I could ramble on for a paragraph or two about how much video contests changed in 2010, the record-breaking amounts of money that were won and the ways technology has enabled freelance filmmakers to create more professional looking videos.  And then I could top it off by explaining why it’s a safe bet to say that User-generated content is going to be an important part of the future of advertising and blah, blah, blah. But anyone reading this probably already knows all that stuff! The factors I just listed are the reasons we all keep making video contest entries; the money and exposure are awesome and the rewards just keep keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

So let’s skip the exposition and get right to the good stuff; VCN’s VIDEO CONTEST ENTRY OF THE YEAR! Now I know what you’re thinking…it’s got to be “Underdog,” the Crash the Super Bowl entry that aired during the Super Bowl, scored #2 on the USA Today Ad Meter and won its creators a $600,000 bonus, right? Wrong! That choice would be to easy. Instead I’ve decided to recognize a different 2010 Crash the Super Bowl winner; SNACK ATTACK SAMURAI by Ben Krueger and Cole Koehler!

2010 Crash the Super Bowl finalist. Prize: $25,000 and aired during the Super Bowl:

So why Snack Attack Samurai? Well to start, it’s a great ad, it made it to the Crash the Super Bowl finals and it scored enough votes to air during the 2010 Super Bowl. But this humble, little video earns top honors this year not because of how much money it won (just $25,000!) but because of what it accomplished. By a fluke of timing, Snack Attack Samurai wound up playing near the end of last year’s Super Bowl right during a particularly exciting moment in the game. The next day, Nielson announced that the ad wound up being the MOST WATCHED COMMERCIAL IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION.

Like I said, this sort of happened by chance but it is still an incredible accomplishment. 100 Million people in the United States saw this ad on Super Sunday. That’s 1 out of 3 Americans. More people saw that first airing of Snack Attack Samurai than saw Avatar during its entire theatrical run. So why is this a big deal? It’s a big deal because in the roughly 80 year history of television, the commercial that wound up with the biggest audience ever wasn’t made by a team of marketing geniuses from Madison Avenue and it wasn’t produced by a humongous production company and it didn’t feature any big name stars. It was made by two dudes in Minnesota and it cost a tiny fraction of what most regular TV commercials cost. And here’s the craziest part of all…..those 100 million viewers? THEY DIDN’T CARE WHO MADE THE AD OR WHERE IT CAME FROM. Though a lot of them probably knew Snack Attack Samurai was part of the Crash the Super Bowl contest, to most viewers it was just another Super Bowl commercial. And to me folks, that means we’re entering an age when there aren’t any more “big guys” and “little guys;” there will only be the “talented” and the “untalented.”  The playing field is getting very even, very quickly.

So that’s why Snack Attack Samurai gets our “entry of the year award.” But what was the BEST contest entry of the year? Well, chances are you’ve probably never seen this one.  Our pick for the Best entry of 2010 was a short film called NUIT BLANCHE. It won first place and 100 grand in LG’s “Life’s Good” oneline film fest. The goal of the contest was to create an HD video based on the theme, “Life’s Good.” Though I suspect that Nuit Blanche wasn’t specifically shot for the contest it’s undeniably awesome and was THE BEST VIDEO CONTEST ENTRY OF THE YEAR:

Grand Prize Winner, LG’s Life’s Good HD Film Fest. Prize: $100,000:

Crazy right??  If you wanna have your mind blow, check out this “making of Nuit Blanche” video. Pretty much every effect was done digitally which means in 5 years, high school kids will probably be making videos with equally sophisticated effects.

Next up, here’s THE BIGGEST WINNER OF 2010. Yep, it’s UNDERDOG from the Crash the Super Bowl contest.

Crash the Super Bowl winner. Prizes: Won $625,000 and aired during the Super Bowl:

I think this video might also deserve the unofficial title of “Beardy’s Favorite Winner of the year.” The $600,000 that Underdog won was technically a bonus for scoring well on the USA Today Ad meter. Those bonuses were not guaranteed so you could also consider our next ad to be the “Biggest Winner of the year.” But let’s call this one THE WINNER OF THE BIGGEST GUARANTEED CONTEST PRIZE. It’s entitled “Russell’s Notebook and it won first place and $250,000 in the big Godaddy summer video contest.

Grand Prize Winner, Godaddy Summer contest. Prize: $250,000:

Can't embed this one so click to view

$250,000 by the way happens to the be largest guaranteed video contest prize EVER. The ad has also supposedly played on TV but I haven’t seen it air myself.


Crash the Super Bowl Finalist. Prize: Won $25,000 and aired during the Super Bowl:

EVERYBODY (and their Momma) has watched and re-watched this ad. I didn’t like it when I first saw it but it really grew on me. Doritos really knew what they were during when they picked House Rules as a finalist last year. The ad became a viral hit even before the Super Bowl and to date it’s been viewed almost 10 Million times on the Crash the Super Bowl youtube channel alone.

So those were the big winners of 2010. But here’s a quick list of some of the other video contest entries that scored big last year.

These two commercials were made for a Poptent Assignment for Quiznos. The ads wound up airing on TV for months and they are so well made that I’m guessing few viewers would ever guess they weren’t produced by Quizno’s regular ad firm:

VALUE MENU!  Purchased by Quiznos.  Price: $7,500.

U-543.  Purchased by Quiznos.  Price: $7,500.

Godaddy actually ran two big video contests in 2010; a “Spring” contest and a “Summer” contest.  The winner of the “Spring” contest and $100,000 was entitled “Go Momma” and the ad aired on TV a bit.  But I think the big winner of that contest was actually the SECOND Place ad;

Second Place Winner, Godaddy Spring Contest. Prize: $50,000:

Though won less money, Godaddy aired it on TV like crazy.  I still see it run every once in a while!  And the Phoenix-based filmmakers who made it actually won another $25,000 runner-up prize in Godaddy’s Summer Contest with an ad called  I talked to the director of the ad a few weeks back and he said Godaddy is actually airing the ad in India.

Here’s another video contest entry that made it to TV.  This promo was shot for a Zooppa-run contest for TMZ and won first place.

First Place Winner, TMZ promo contest.  Prize: $10,000:

TMZ has been airing this promo during their show along with the 2nd and 3rd place winning videos too. You can see them all here:

Finally, here are a couple ads that won smaller prizes but that I really liked:

DON’T FORGET.  Winner, Louisiana Hot Sauce Video Contest.  Prize: $5,000.

RONNIE’S SKIN SHACK.  Runner up, commercial contest.  Prize: $5,000.

First Place Winner, Are You Debit Smart Contest. Prize: $5,000:

HUMAN HEAD. Purchased by Fed-ex via Poptent’s Fed-Ex assignment. Price: $5,000.

1/20 UPDATE:
A reader sent me a link to this video that won the Mofilm American Idol Walmart competition. Apparently this ad even aired during the American Idol Finale. It’s pretty good. Prizes won include a trip to LA, tickets to the American Idol finale and thousands of dollars in cash and Walmart Gift cards.

So what do you think? Did I miss any big entries from 2010?

Ok…send us your best Doritos ads!

About 2 weeks ago I announced that I planned on doing a list of our Top Picks for the best Pepsi Max entries to the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I asked you guys to send me links to your favorite videos (or videos you made that you’re especially proud of) and a whole lot of you took me up on the offer.  And even though I didn’t ask for them, I’ve been getting lots and lots of links to Doritos entries.  So I’ve decided I should stop ignoring the Doritos folks and start a new discussion thread.  So if you have a Doritos entry you’d like to promote, leave the link as a comment to this post.  Since there were more than 3,000 doritos commercials submitted to the Crash this year I won’t be able to do a list of my top picks.  But if I see an entry I really like I might feature it.

UPDATE:  I’m happy to look at any videos anyone wants to send me and I’ll even give you a quick review if you’d like one, but my inbox is getting pretty messy.  So please don’t e-mail me your links.  Post them in a comment so that everyone can see them.