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When will Doritos announce the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest?


Dorito Time draws near…

VCN always sees a quick and sharp increase in traffic in late August.  All those new visitors are looking for information about the same thing; the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  So every year I post answers to a few Doritos-related FAQS:

Q:  Is Doritos running the Crash the Super Bowl contest again this year?

A:  Honestly….I have no idea!  The marketing team at FritoLay keeps all the contest details secret while they’re planning the next installment.  But I think it’s a pretty safe bet that the contest will be back for 2014-2015.  Doritos recently brought back a few of the commercials that won the CTSB contest in 2013 and 2014 (e.g. the one about the dad and daughter princess party and the one where the cowboy kid rides the dog like a horse) and I think they’re re-running those ads to kind of remind their fans that it’s almost CTSB time again.

Q:  When will Doritos announce the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest?

A:  If the contest is coming back again then FritoLay will probably announce the details in early to mid-september.  Last year they made their announcement on September 12th but the contest didn’t official open until October 8th.  The deadline for submissions was November 24th.

Q:  Do you think I should start working on my entry now?

A:  No.  People actually e-mail me and ask this question all year-round.  Some filmmakers get a good idea in their head and they want to shoot their entry weeks or months before the contest is announced.  But that’s a bad idea.  You should wait to find out if The Crash is even coming back before you shoot anything.  Plus you never know; FritoLay may decide to change the theme of the contest in some way.  It would really suck if you shot an entry about Nacho Cheese Doritos only to find out that this year the judges only want to see Cool Ranch commercials.

So that’s all I got.  You now know everything I know about the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest.  But keep checking VCN and I’ll post new information as soon as it comes in.


A&E announces new DocuSeries featuring Crash the Super Bowl champs, the Herbert Brothers

The team from Herbert Brothers Entertainment

The team from Herbert Brothers Entertainment

Joe and Dave Herbert are the founding fathers of the video contest revolution.  In 2009 they won the the Crash the Super Bowl contest and their entry, “Free Doritos” scored the #1 spot on the USA Today ad meter poll.  That honor netted them a million dollar bonus from FritoLay.  It got them a ton of media attention too.  Everyone was talking about the two “average joes” from Batesville, Indiana that beat the pros at their own game. The biggest production companies and ad agencies in the world pour months of work and millions of dollars into their Super Bowl commercials.  But the Herbert Brothers proved that “amateurs” with prosumer-grade gear could shoot amazing, TV-quality content for just a few hundred bucks.  The success of “Free Doritos” sparked a video contest boom that is still going strong.  That single ad put the entire spec commercial industry on the map.  Now, five years later, the Herberts have landed another prize; a reality show deal with A&E.  Here’s a few paragraphs from the network’s official announcement:

A&E Network has ordered the new nonfiction series “The Herbert Brothers” (working title) from Zig Zag Productions.  The series will follow five brothers who launched an advertising empire after creating the #1 Super Bowl commercial. Production begins immediately on eight half-hour episodes and the series is slated to premiere this summer.

Down in Batesville, Indiana, there’s a family that runs the number one ad agency in town. Sure, the population is only 6,508, and they’re self-proclaimed “nobodies from nowhere.” But the Herbert brothers made advertising history when their homemade commercial won the “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” Contest and ranked #1 on the USA Today ad meter. They were up against the best and brightest advertising minds on Madison Avenue. And they won.

The Herbert Brothers took their $1,000,000 winnings, established an advertising agency and continued developing commercials for major companies like Pepsi, Go Daddy and Shasta, to name a few.  The five brothers still live and work in their idyllic hometown and enlist help from the locals; their friends act, mom caters, dad builds sets and neighbors help script.

One quick note: I don’t think the Herbert Brothers were actually hired by Pepsi and Godaddy.  They just entered video contests that were sponsored by those companies.  They lost too so it’s weird that A&E would list them as if they were clients.

But anyway, USA Today talked to the Herbert Brothers and they explained how the new series came to be:

Dave, Matt, Josh, Pete and Joe Herbert were asked more than a year ago about making a reality show and agreed to shoot a pilot, or prototype, last October.

In five years, the entrepreneurial brothers have parlayed Doritos popularity into directing soft drink commercials, creating board games and writing a feature film script.

Starring in a reality TV show wasn’t on their list, Joe said.

“It wasn’t us trying to get a (reality) show. We were approached. They (producers) were looking for a funny family business in the Midwest,” said Joe, who once described his family as “nobodies from nowhere” in an Enquirer interview.

“We did a pilot, and everybody liked it,” he said.

I think this is really exciting news.  I hope we get to see the team working on actual video contest entries or spec ads.  I also hope this show isn’t supposed to be a Duck Dynasty clone.  It would be a real bummer if the producers tried portray these guys as filmmaking rednecks from southern Indiana.  But I think it’s a good sign that A&E is billing this as a “DocuSeries” rather than a straight up reality show.


“Time Machine” wins the 2014 Crash the Super Bowl contest!!

There must be a few sadists working over at Frito-Lay because apparently they just love torturing their Crash the Super Bowl finalists.  Every year, the five potential winners have to sit through the game to find out whether or not their commercial is going to air.  That sounds pretty nerve-wracking but this year Doritos decided to add even more suspense to the contest.  Last night, two fan-made Doritos commercials aired; Time Machine and Cowboy Kid.  The ad that was picked by FritoLay’s judges was supposed to win $50,000 and the ad that won the public vote was supposed to get a million bucks.  But Doritos didn’t tell the producers of these commercials which ad won the grand prize!  The finalists had to wait until this morning to learn the news on live TV.

Fortunately, there were no panic attacks or on-air mental breakdowns after Time Machine was revealed to be the grand prize winner.  Ryan Thomas Anderson of Scottsdale, Arizona is the official winner of the 2014 Crash the Super Bowl contest and he’s taking home the million dollar grand prize.  And as a bonus, both he and the creator of Cowboy Kid, Amber Gill, have been offered jobs working on the new Avengers movie.  Here’s a clip of Ryan getting the good news on Good Morning America:

I’m really psyched about this outcome.  I interviewed Ryan a few weeks ago and he’s a super nice guy who’s going to use the money to help out his family.  Plus it’s sort of awesome that the CTSB finalist with the lowest budget wound up beating all the big-budget entries.  Time Machine cost just $200 to produce while Cowboy Kid had a budget of $5,000!  Congrats to Ryan on the big win and congrats to those sickos at Frito-Lay for running a really excellent installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest!


Time Machine and Cowboy Kid air during Super Bowl XLVIII

Man, was that the weirdest Super Bowl ever or what??  For the last two weeks everyone was saying that the game was going to be a nail-biter but in the end, Denver would win.  Well guess what?  Everyone was wrong!  And it seems like everyone was wrong about who would win this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest too.  The entire Internet was rooting for Finger Cleaner but ultimately the winners were Time Machine and Cowboy Kid.  Doritos still hasn’t said which ad actually got the most votes in the online poll.  Apparently the million dollar winner will be announced on Good Morning America tomorrow.  But we know for sure that one of these entries will get $1,000,000 and the other will get $50,000.

I was really excited to see Time Machine air in the first quarter but I’m not thrilled that Cowboy Kid won.  There’s something about that ad that just creeps me out.  Maybe it’s the little boy’s long, flowing hair?  Or maybe it’s the fact that the mom claps like a goofball when she that her son has hog-tied his brother?

Ok to be honest, the real reason that I don’t like Cowboy Kid is that it was apparently (and semi-secretly) directed by a filmmaker named Kevin T. Willson….and Kevin T. Willson ALREADY WON A MILLION DOLLARS FROM DORITOS TWO YEARS AGO.  He won the million bucks back in 2012 after his commercial Sling Baby was ranked #1 on a Facebook ad meter poll.  And in total, he’s now directed 4 commercials that wound up making the CTSB finals.  There’s nothing in the official rules that say you have to retire from the contest if you win the grand prize.  But it just sort of seems uncool…doesn’t it?  And what’s really galling is that it looks like Willson entered under his friend’s wife’s name and then tried to hide (or at least not promote) his involvement….probably because he knew that CTSB fans might get pissed if they found out that a previous million-dollar winner was trying to “crash” the Super Bowl for the 4th time.

We’ll post the final CTSB results as soon as they’re announced.  In the mean time, you might want to check out Doritos’ facebook page.  It is absolutely blowing up right now.  Animal rights supporters are freaking furious that FritoLay decided to show Cowboy Kid since it features an act of animal cruelty:


Who’s gonna Crash the Super Bowl tonight?

crashthesuperbowl2014Tonight 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.


FOX and the NFL make a big decision regarding Doritos’ viral hit, “Finger Cleaner”

The Australian-made Crash the Super Bowl entry “Finger Cleaner” is pretty disgusting.  It’s gross and it’s weird and its thinly-veiled sexual subtext is completely outrageous.  And you know what?  That’s why I love this commercial.  I didn’t think the CTSB judges would have the stones to pick Finger Cleaner for the Top 5 but I guess I was wrong.  (Apparently they were serious when they told their fans they wanted “bold” submissions.)  Finger Cleaner is so crazy and so hilarious that it actually went viral about 2 months before it even made the semi-finals.  And when the ad was announced as an official finalist on January 2nd, Finger Cleaner was shared by so many people that it gained almost 300,000 views in a day.  With three days left to go in the online voting, the commercial is up to 2.6 million views and 5,252 shares.  Compare that to the finalist in 2nd place in the (unofficial) view count race; Time Machine.  That ad has proved to be pretty popular too but it’s only earned 1,120,438 views and 574 shares.

Views and shares don’t actually count in this contest but they’re a good indicator of how an entry is doing in the public voting.  Finger Cleaner is getting so much positive media coverage and so many social media shares that it’s probably going to win the online poll in a landslide.  The finalist that gets the most votes is supposed to air during Superbowl XLVIII and the creator is supposed to automatically win a million dollars.  But ever since Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, the networks that broadcast the Super Bowl have been trying to keep the event squeaky-clean and controversy-free.  Every year there are a few stories about Super Bowl ads that are rejected because they’re “too hot for TV” or because they might offend viewers.  Advertisers such as Godaddy have realized that they can get some free press attention just by submitting Super Bowl ads that they know will get rejected.  It’s a win-win situation for sponsors because these “controversial” ads go viral but the company doesn’t have to pay 3 million bucks to air it during the Super Bowl.  Case in point, this Godaddy ad that was rejected CBS last year…

That was pretty lame.  I doubt Godaddy ever actually wanted to air that 49 second-long commercial during the Super Bowl.  (They wound up airing a shorter, less-gross version of this spot) But because it was officially “rejected,” Godaddy could call it “too hot for TV” and post it on youtube.  Since January 2013 that commercial has been seen more than 1.6 million times and those views didn’t cost Godaddy a dime.

The day after Doritos revealed their finalists, The Today Show aired and discussed the other selected ads (Office Thief, Breakroom Ostrich, Cowboy Kid and Time Machine) but at the end of the segment, Matt Lauer said:

“Now, there was a fifth finalist, but after watch it 37 times, I decided, and so did some other people here that it was not right for morning TV.  So we’re gonna put that on our website and you can go to and check that one out.”

If you went to and looked for their story about the Crash the Super Bowl contest, you’d see that the headline they used was “See 5 Super Bowl ads competing for $1M and the one that couldn’t air on TV.”  The article does include Finger Cleaner but states that it was “too provocative for TV.”

If The Today Show couldn’t show Finger Cleaner, will FOX be able to air it during the new G-rated Super Bowl?  The commercial is so bizarre and so suggestive that I’ve had a creeping suspicion that Doritos picked it because they thought it might get rejected by FOX.  If the ad didn’t get approved, the company could just air another Crash the Super Bowl commercial but they would still get millions of free viral views from Finger Cleaner.

But that plan doesn’t really seem like Frito-Lay’s style.  So I contacted the company and asked what would happen if Finger Cleaner won the online vote but was rejected by the network.  The Senior Director of Public Relations for Frito-Lay North America, Chris Kuechenmeister (AKA one of the top Crash the Super Bowl judges) sent me back a pleasantly definitive answer:

“All five finalist spots have been approved by FOX and the NFL.  Two of the five finalist spots will air during the Super Bowl – one selected by the world’s votes, the other by the Doritos brand team.”

So that’s that!  If Finger Cleaner wins the online vote CAN air during the Super Bowl.  And that’s great news for everyone who thinks there aren’t enough glory holes for cheesy fingers on TV!

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