Tonight FritoLay will air two fan-made Doritos commercials during the Super Bowl; one was picked during a month-long, online public vote and the other was chosen by a team of judges. The popular vote winner will get a million dollars and the ad that was picked by the judges will win $50,000. (The other three finalists will receive $25,000 each.) The five official finalists haven’t been told who actually won the contest so they’ll find out along with the rest of us when the winning ads are revealed during the game. But the winners won’t be told which commercial won the million bucks until after the Super Bowl is over.
Every year I try and predict which Crash the Super Bowl ads will air and I’m pretty confident about my 2014 picks. I think Finger Cleaner will win the million dollars and I think Time Machine will come in second. To be honest, my predictions aren’t especially bold. Even though views and social media shares don’t officially count in this contest, Finger Cleaner blew the competition away in those categories. Here are the youtube stats for all five 2014 CTSB finalists:
1. Finger Cleaner: Views: 3,173,848. Shares: 6,424
2. Time Machine: Views: 1,349,099. Shares: 695
3. Office Thief: Views: 1,108,706. Shares: 300
4. Breakroom Ostrich: Views: 963,791. Shares: Data N/A
5, Cowboy Kid: Views: Shares: 962,145. Shares: 465
You don’t need to be an ad wizard to realize that if one commercial got the most views, it probably got the most votes too. So Finger Cleaner looks like a safe bet for first place. But those “shares” are also an important statistic. That number shows how many times people clicked the “share on Twitter/facebook/Google +/Reddit etc, option. In the last few years, advertisers have realized that many Super Bowl commercials really start to pay for themselves AFTER the game. That’s because viewers start sharing their favorite commercials on their social networks. If an ad is quickly forgotten about, that means it was a failure. But if a Super Bowl commercial goes viral, the sponsor will get tens of millions of extra views for free.
So when it comes time to pick the 2nd place CTSB ad, the judges will choose the commercial with the highest viral potential. If Finger Cleaner somehow loses the online vote, the judges would have no choice but to pick it as the 2nd place winner. But like I said, I’m pretty confident that Finger Cleaner will win the million dollars. That leaves Time Machine, Office Thief, Breakroom Ostrich, and the Cowboy Kid. I think the two office-themed ads are going to cancel themselves out. And Cowboy Kid was sort of a flop in the view count/share race. But that doesn’t mean it has no hope of making it to air. No….Cowboy Kid probably has no hope of making it to air for another reason. After Cowboy Kid made the Top 5, animal rights activists raised some digital hell about that ad because it features a kid riding a giant dog. A lot of people were concerned that kids at home might try and emulate this stunt and hurt themselves or their pets. Doritos and the Cowboy Kid team were hit with a barrage of angry tweets, e-mails and facebook posts. Some of that anger even made it’s way to VCN. I got a few e-mails from people who were pissed at me just because I posted the ad! Here’s one of the messages I received:
The Cowboy Kid is “cute” but it is also a terrible video. It depicts a very dangerous situation for both dog and child! You need to remove this from the list of finalists.
Some idiot will try to do this at home, and the dog will suffer back or leg injuries (a dog’s skeletal structure does not provide the kind of support needed for being ridden) or the dog will object to the abuse and will bite the child. Since children are small, that usually means a bite to the face. If it’s a big dog like the one pictured, or a strong dog like a pit bull, any bite will be very, very serious.
If you leave it up and someone’s kid gets hurt while trying to do the same thing the child in the video does, you could even get sued. Take it down, please!
I didn’t take the ad down but these folks did make a decent point. There are a lot of dumb kids and a lot of dumb parents out there. What if “Cowboy Kid-ing” became a meme and a dog’s back gets broken or a kid gets their face bit off? The Cowboy Kid protest was relatively mild but that’s because less than a million people saw that ad online. Imagine if 100 million people saw it on TV tonight? I think the ad guys at FritoLay are smart enough to realize that if they show that commercial during the Super Bowl, the backlash on Monday could be pretty ugly.