Making the Crash the Super Bowl finals is one of the hardest accomplishments in the world of filmmaking. This year there were 8,061 short film submitted to Sundance and 60 shorts made the final cut. That means your odds of being selected for the most prestigious film festival in the country are 1 in 134 (0.7%.) But last fall Doritos received more than 4,900 Crash the Superbowl entries and only 10 of those ads made it to the finals. So your chances of making the Top 10 were just 1 in 490 (0.2%.) And this year it’s going to be even harder to make the finals because this time the judges will only be picking THREE finalists.
So if you want to go all the way you’re going to have to work your ass off. And the road to victory begins with RESEARCH. Before you schedule a brainstorming session or write a single line of dialogue you should watch and analyze all the CTSB finalists from the past 10 years. Watching these commercials will show you exactly the type of ads that the judges like. So I’ve done something that literally no one else has ever done; I’ve compiled a list of all 46 ads that have made the CTSB finals since the contest was launched in 2005. If I tried to embed 46 youtube videos in one post my site would probably crash so instead of videos I’ve posted screen shots of each entry. If you’d like to watch the actual ad on youtube just click the screenshot.
2014 – 2015 finalists:
The judges usually pick 5 finalists but last year they picked 10. The quality in this set of finalists is really all over the place. Some ads are actually kinda bad and they really didn’t deserve to make the finals. Frito-Lay made a big deal about the contest “going global” so they had to pick a few token international entries even if those ads weren’t as good as the finalists from the US. I also suspect that the judges picked a few gross ads just to try and generate a little lowest-common-denominator social media buzz. So take this set of semi-finalists with a grain of salt.
2013 – 2014 finalists:
2012 – 2013 finalists:
2011 – 2012 finalists:
2010 – 2011 finalists:
2009 – 2010 finalists:
2008 – 2009 finalists:
– NOTE: Doritos did not run a commercial contest in 2008-2009. Instead, CTSB II was a music-themed contest.
I have a Google News alert set for the phase “Crash the Super Bowl” and those alerts have been blowing up my inbox all month. A few news sites covered FritoLay’s final call for entries but most of the stories I’ve seen came from local news outlets and were about people who entered the contest. And if you read these articles or watch these segments, it’s pretty obvious that the featured actors or filmmakers are the ones who contacted the media and pitched their story. Here are a few samples of what I’m talking about:
Those stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Every year I see a few articles about local Crash the Super Bowl contestants but I’ve never seen 3 or 4 articles a day before. These stories are weirdly fascinating because most of the featured filmmakers clearly have no idea how the Crash the Super Bowl contest actually works. Most of them are trying to get some press coverage because they think that extra views and votes will help them make the finals. (Just for the record: Views and votes have ZERO impact in the first stage of the Crash the Super Bowl contest) Here’s are a few paragraphs from the Hanford Sentinel story. I’ll highlight important passages in orange.
HANFORD — A local filmmaker is competing for a chance to have his video be the next Doritos spot that will air live during the most watched sporting event in the United States.
Joshua C——-, owner and founder of R——–, a local film production company, has submitted his 30-second video “Bad Dog” in the annual Doritos “Crash The Super Bowl” commercial contest.
For the competition, contestants submit short video spots, judges select semi-finalists and then the world is allowed to vote for their favorite from the pool of finalists. The winner gets to have his video air live during the football game, wins $1 million cash, a trip to watch the Super Bowl and a trip to New York for a behind-the-scenes tour of the next “Avengers” movie, “Age of Ultron.”
But, for now, Cordero has to make it through the first phase of the contest.
“I’m still waiting to hear if I’m even a semi-finalist,” he said. “They will let me know on Dec. 11.”
He said that in order to move on, the judges will pick the semi-finalists based on certain criteria. One of those criteria is video views and ratings.
“I need my supporters to go to Doritos.com, watch and rate the video,” he said. “The more views and ratings it gets the more likely I might become a semi-finalist.”
Cordero then explained that on Jan. 4, voting will open to the public and his fans can vote for his video once every day until the contest ends, and if his video gets the most votes, he will win.
It’s clear this filmmaker never bothered to look at the official rules. It’s also clear that this guy thinks he’s a lock for the Top 5. He’s already planing his strategy for when he makes the finals! I could be a dick and post his entry but I won’t. His video did make me chuckle but as you can probably guess, there’s pretty much zero chance the judges will pick his entry.
As I said, most of the stories that wind up in my in-box are pretty similar to that article. The featured director asks people to help him win by watching his (not very good) commercial and rating it five-stars. In many cases, the filmmakers have high hopes and are confident that they’re going to make the finals because their ad is already one of the Top-Rated or Most-Viewed submissions.
This type of self-promotion might sound harmless but these articles could actually lead to some unforeseen, negative consequences. For one thing, some a-hole blogger could post a link to your story and say snarky things about it. But worse than that, press coverage might cause your cast and crew and family and friends to really get their hopes up. Your teammates may think “Hey, if NBC Atlanta bothered to send a TV crew to cover our efforts, we must really have a shot at winning!” But NBC Atlanta (and really any news outlet in the world) is always on the look out for fun, easy stories. So the TV crew isn’t showing up because your entry is amazing; the TV crew shows up because you’re a local and your story comes with some amusing, pre-shot visuals.
So if you keep telling people that views and votes will help you win, and if your local paper backs up that idea (few reporters are going to bother checking the rules to see if you know what you’re talking about) then your friends are going to be in for a huge let down. After everyone finds out that your incredibly “popular” entry didn’t even make the semi-finals, you’re going to be receiving a lot of messages from people asking the same thing: “Dude, what happened? We were on TV! We were the #2 most viewed entry out of like 5,000 videos! How could we not win!??!”
Now having said all that, as long as you have your facts straight, a story in the Salt Lake City Tribune or the Vicksburg Telegram won’t really have any impact on your chances of making the finals. A story won’t help, but it also won’t hurt. So if you want to use the Crash the Super Bowl contest as an excuse to bulk up your production company’s press packet, I say go ahead and contact a local reporter.
It’s 5:30PM (CST) on Sunday, November 24th. For weeks and weeks I’ve been trying to come up with a funny (and cheap) idea for the Crash the Super Bowl contest. About 5 minutes ago I finally had a flash of inspiration. A funny, weird and affordable idea for a Doritos commercial just popped in to my head and it’s so simple and goofy it might actually have a shot at winning this contest.
Too bad the Crash the Super Bowl deadline is 6 1/2 hours away. If I had just 3 extra days I could have shot my new, super hilarious idea. Oh well….I guess maybe I can be the first person to submit an entry next year!
Based on the gigantic spike in traffic VCN has seen in the last few days it looks like a lot of you guys did manage to shoot and submit Doritos commercials this year. If you did enter the CTSB contest, I want to see your work! Every year I invite VCN fans to share their links in the comment section of my end-of-the-crash post. I even offer to write mini-reviews of every ad that is posted.
But this year I’m going to do things a little differently. If you’d like to get some extra views or votes, you’re welcome to post your link in the comment section below. BUT…this year I’ll only be doing reviews on Twitter. Last year I wrote reviews for more than 100 fan-made ads. I crafted some pretty beefy reviews and it took up a crazy amount of time. So the Twitter reviews will force me to keep my thoughts to 140 characters or less. (though if I have something crucial to say I might cheat and reply twice.) So if you’d like a review this year, here’s what you do:
Step 2: Tweet me your link. Your tweet has got to be public though. I can’t do any reviews via DM.
Step 3: Be patient! It might take me a day or two to check out your video.
Step 4: Don’t get pissed at me if I don’t like your video! I only have 140 characters so I’m not going to sugarcoat my thoughts. I’m not going to act like a jerk or anything but if your actors weren’t good or if your story made no sense or if your ad just isn’t good enough to air on TV, I’m going to say so. Please don’t take my comments personally. I’m just giving you my objective opinion.
Having said that, I hope I see a lot of awesome videos this year. In a few weeks I will go though my tweets again and I’ll post my Top 5 favorite submitted Crash the Super Bowl ads. So start sending those entries everybody! Don’t forget to follow me before you tweet at me. I promise I’ll follow you back-sies. And like I said, if you want to post a link to your video in the comment section below, go for it. If you do post your link here, I’ll reply with a link to my twitter review. Oh wait….now that I think about it, I suppose not everyone in the world has a twitter account. So you non-twitterers can just leave a comment and ask for a review on the blog. Good luck everybody!
Dortios is scheduled to announce the details of the 2012-2013 Crash the Superbowl contest during a webcast on Crashthesuperbowl.com at 8PM EST on Wednesday, September 19th. But a few hours ago, USA Today spoiled the surprise and blabbed about all the stuff that Doritos was going to reveal tomorrow night. So…SPOILER ALERT: If you want to wait another 20 hours to hear some specifics about this year’s contest, look away now!
Ok, nobody really wants to wait until the webcast, right? Good. Here are the basic facts about the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl contest:
1. Doritos is the only brand involved in the contest this year.
2. FIVE finalists will be selected in January.
3. The public will vote and TWO winning ads will air during the Super Bowl.
4. If your ad scores the #1 spot on the USA Today ad meter you win a million dollar bonus.
None of those facts are especially shocking. All those things pretty much happen every year. But there are two NEW pieces of big news to report:
1. If you make the finals and if your ad is the highest ranked Doritos commercial of the game you’ll will win a chance to work with Michael Bay on the next Transformers movie. What kind of job you would have isn’t clear yet. I doubt you’ll be a producer or anything but hopefully this will be an actual, meaty job where you can get real on-set experience. It would really suck if the winner was just a glorified PA. I think the dream position would be as a second unit director. If the winner got to direct a few action shots they could get into the DGA and they’d have an instant career in the film industry. That would be a hell of a good prize.
2. This year Doritos is going to try and involve non-filmmakers in the contest. They will be encouraging people to offer up their homes, pets etc. to producers who are shooting entries for the contest. This will happen via a special section on Doritos’ facebook page.
That’s all the news I’ve got to report right as of 11:00PM on the 18th. I will update this post after the webcast tomorrow night!
POST-WEBCAST UPDATE: It’s Wednesday night and I just watched the big CTSB webcast announcement. Basically it was just a pre-recorded video that featured the guy in charge of the Crash, Jeff Klein and Michael Bay. Bay took Klein on a little tour of his production offices and they talked a tiny bit about strategy. I only learned one bit of new info from the video; Michael Bay will be one of the official Crash the Super Bowl judges this year. Personally, I think that’s fantastic news. I know that a lot of CTSB fans (myself included) are unhappy that the same people and ideas wind up winning this contest every year. So maybe Bay will help Doritos make some bolder and more unique choices this time. The full webcast is now online and you can watch it here.
After the webcast ended, CrashtheSuperbowl.com disappeared! It now looks like the entire contest WILL take place on facebook! Yes, Crashthesuperbowl.com is dead and gone. Just a few minutes ago, Doritos changed their facebook page. It now looks like this:
When you click on that Crash the Super Bowl tab it takes you to a “Get Started” page. I’m sort of amazed that the contest is really going to be just a gigantic facebook app this year but I did totally call it! It’s really a brilliant move on fritolay’s part. For the next 4 months, millions of facebook feeds will be clogged with links to Crash the Super Bowl entries. When you upload your submission I bet all of your facebook friends will automatically see a link. If an average of 5 people are involved with every CTSB submission and if they each have an average of 150 facebook friends and if 6,000 people enter the contest this year (same as last year) that means Crash the Superbowl entries will probably show up in the newsfeeds of about 4.5 million people!!! The amount of free advertising Doritos will get out of this move boggles the mind!
The official rules are now live and on facebook. Here are the key details you need to know:
1. The contest opens on OCTOBER 8th. The deadline for entries is NOVEMBER 16th.
2. There will be a star-rating system “for entertainment purposes only.”
3. A public vote will choose 1 of the 5 commercials that will air during the big game.
4. A panel of judges will choose a second commercial to air too.
5. The finalist prizes are the same as last year; $25,000 and a trip for 2 to the Super Bowl.
6. The USA Today ad meter prizes are back too. If your ad lands in the #1, #2 or #3 spot on the ad meter you’ll win a bonus of $1,000,000, $600,000, or $400,000.
7. There is NO million dollar bonus for an ad that is ranked #1 on the FACEBOOK ad meter poll. Doritos did this last year and the makers of the ad “Sling Baby” managed to win the online vote. But they won because they had a small army of fans give bad scores to the other ads in the competition. It was really uncool and I’m guessing that’s why the facebook vote got scrapped this year. It was just too easy to manipulate the results.
8. If you win and take the Transformers 4 gig you’ll get an extra $50,000.
When the Crash the Super Bowl finalists were announced on January 4th, I was pleasantly surprised to see that an ad entitled “Hot Wild Girls” had made the Top 5. Though the commercial was clever, topical and funny, it seemed like kind of an “outside the box” pick for doritos. It didn’t feature anyone getting brutalized and it wasn’t an over-produced, super-slick interpretation of “user generated content.” Instead it actually feels like real, authentic, UGC. It looks like it was shot by a few buddies in their living room because it was! And while it does feature dogs, at least they weren’t trying to trick a cruel human into dropping his Doritos on the ground. (I was positive we’d see another “dog gets his revenge” ad this year since there were so many copycats in the gallery)
So I was really glad to see this spot make the finals. And I was even more pleased when I found out “Hot Wild Girls” was made by a friend of VCN! The ad was written by a reader named Eric Delgado of San Antonio, TX. This is kind of insane but for the second time in about 8 months, Eric has a serious shot at winning a million dollars in a video contest. Over the summer, he and his friends made the finals in Gain’s “Smell Like a Million Bucks” competition. Ultimately his team didn’t win that contest but it seems like that brush with victory inspired them to “go big” when it came time to enter the biggest video contest of them all; Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest. And now, here’s out Q&A with Eric:
VCN: Tell me about the “Hot Wild Girls” team. Who are you guys?
ERIC: Nate Watkin, Brad Scott and Eric Delgado. We are ex-MMA fighters from Denver, CO and San Antonio, TX with a combined record of 1-27 (Brad got the W because the other dude tapped out upon entering the cage claiming that Brad was “too pretty to hit.”) Actually, Nate (my cousin) and Brad are the co-founders of their production company, Definite Productions, based in Denver. They’ve been working together for about four years producing commercials and videos. Last year, after Nate saw my Doritos entry for last year’s CTSB, we decided that we should work together on a future project since we all had a passion for comedic commercials.
VCN: Have you guys entered many video contests in the past?
ERIC: As a team, it’s our second contest.. We entered the Gain “Smell Like a Million Bucks” contest this past summer and we were actually a Top 25 finalist for the million dollar prize. Sadly, we didn’t win. That’s why we are pretty stoked about this Doritos opportunity. We realize that we’ve overcome some pretty ridiculous odds and we are extremely grateful to be in this position. Beardy’s Note: Here’s his team’s Gain entry. That’s Eric playing the role of the Repair Man:
VCN: What made you want to enter the CTSB contest?
ERIC: Honestly.. The opportunity to have our commercial/vision broadcasted to over 120 million people worldwide via the Super Bowl and the doors that’ll hopefully open as a result.. And of course the money. 😉 The money part should actually immediately follow the “Honestly..” mentioned above. What? Just sayin’.
VCN: Where did the idea for your entry come from?
ERIC: My cranium.. But knowing you Beardy, you probably want some details. I knew we needed something that was “trendy”. I also knew the power of animals in a commercial. I wrote and wrote for a few hours until finally I came up with dialogue that fulfilled the “twist” which, coincidentally, added the final ingredient… Gorgeous girls. I love those girls Beardy…I have no problem admitting that.
VCN: How was the ad produced? What kind of camera did you use? Mind if I ask what your budget was?
ERIC: Pre-production consisted of a week of casting talent, securing a location, and locating 3 Rottweiler’s (thank you Camp Bow Wow!) that could work together. We had a $2,000.00 budget that was used to pay the talent and makeup artist. A friend loaned us the RED One camera to shoot this ad. Nate and Brad chose this camera for it’s amazing picture quality and control of the final image. Since our intention was hopefully to have this ad broadcasted, we felt it was best fit to shoot at a higher resolution. We shot on-location during a 5-hour period and had to work around the shifting daylight. All footage was logged within an hour of completing the shoot, and then edited the next day with a final that night due to the deadline of the contest.
VCN: So who gets to go to the Super Bowl?
ERIC: Nate and Brad. However, if the Cowboys we’re still in the playoffs, this would be a little different. Stupid Cowboys.
VCN: What are you doing to promote Hot Wild Girls?
ERIC: Media (News/newspaper/radio interviews).. Social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, buzzfeed.com, etc.).. Website (hotwildgirls.tv).. Guerrilla marketing (fliers, posters, word of mouth, etc.)
VCN: What has been the reaction of your family and friends to all this?
ERIC: They have been AMAZINGLY supportive! They are extremely proud and happy for us.. And we couldn’t be happier to have them along for the ride. We love ya’ll!!! All that time spent in the past voting for a friend’s “Cutest Baby”, “Best Restaurant”, or “Prettiest Puppy” is finally paying off.
VCN: Here on VCN we’ve talked a lot about finalists who are able to win the CTSB more than once. Are you already planning your entry for 2013?
ERIC: Absolutely. However, I hope they just announce the winner(s) before December 21, 2012. If I’m going down, I’d at least like to know that our commercial WOULD have aired during Super Bowl XLVII.
VCN: Any final thoughts you’d care to share?
ERIC: Yes.. And this is for your frequent visitors (like us.. fellow “Joe Handycams”) Beardy. There will always be people out there that criticize your work. They’ll try and blast your creation on websites, forums, or maybe even the “comments” section under that YouTube video that you were proud to post even after a contest you didn’t win. Who cares.. Let them criticize while you continue to create. We are by no means experts in this art.. It simply makes us happy.
VCN: Well said!
I’ve been voting for “Hot Wild Girls” every day and I think you should be doing the same. It’s a cool, funny ad I’m hoping that if it airs during the Super Bowl and scores well on the ad meter, maybe next year Doritos will be inspired to make “outside of the box” picks when it comes time to choose their 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finalists. To vote for Hot Wild Girls, just click here!