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The four most over-done Crash the Super Bowl ideas

Pro Tip:  Never use the Crash the Super Bowl contest as a chance to see your buddy’s girlfriend topless

NOTE:  This is an updated version of an article I originally published way back in 2011.  Last year I saw these same ideas get used over and over and over so I figured this story deserved a re-post.  Enjoy!

It’s October 18th which means we’re now just 22 days away from the deadline for the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  So it’s Crunch Time, folks! (pun intended)  But before you rush out and start filming, the first step in making a great Doritos commercial is research.  Obviously, you should watch all the entries that won the previous installments of the Crash but you should also try and figure out which concepts have already been done to death.  So I am going to do you a gigantic favor and list the Top 4 most over-used Crash the Super Bowl ideas!  Every year, Dortios gets tons of videos that have almost identical plots and gags.  The ideas might be new to the person who wrote the script but to the judges they are tired and totally unoriginal.  So if you want to stand out from the crowd, here are four concepts that you need to avoid.
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1. Doritos as “paper” footballs


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Hey, have you ever noticed that a Dorito kind of looks like a paper football?  If so, you’re not alone because apparently a lot of people have noticed that! Over the last 10 years, I bet fritolay has received hundreds of CTSB entries that featured Doritos being used as “paper footballs.”  I’m guessing this idea is so popular because a paper football is about the only small, triangular object most people can think of.  What’s crazy about this particular idea is that pretty much every Paper Football entry has the same plot.  There is a tense and dramatic stand off between two competitors. The chip is “kicked” in slow motion but at the last second, there’s a twist! Someone jumps into frame and blocks the kick by catching the chip in their mouth.
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2. Dressing up in a giant Doritos costume


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This weekend, dozens of filmmakers across the country will go into their garages and apply the finishing touches to their homemade, giant Doritos costumes.  Some of them will just be a single, orange sheet of poster board. Others will be meticulous, high quality suits that are made of foam and finished with an air-brushing of realistic orange and brown paint.  But if Frito-lay hasn’t picked a CTSB finalist that featured a guy dressed as a Dorito by now, they are never going to.  That’s because no matter how much work a person puts into their Dorito costume, the gag is just too easy.  Think of it like this; if Bud Light made a Super Bowl commercial where the joke was that the characters were in homemade Bud Light suits, how do you think that commercial would do on the USA Today ad meter?
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3. Zombies!


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This idea has been totally done to death. (Pun intended again!) If you head to the Crash the Super Bowl gallery and watch 50 videos in a row, I bet you’d see at least one zombie-themed entry. In fact, I just searched the gallery for the word “zombie” and there are already four submissions with the word zombie in the title!

It’s easy to understand why Dortios gets so many zombie videos though.  Zombies are super popular, the costumes are really easy to make.  I’ll break down a typical zombie story for you; a group of friends are running from hungry zombies.  The friends get trapped and the zombies attack. But they don’t eat the people.  It turns out one of them has Doritos and that’s what the zombies were after the whole time!  Oh but once the Doritos run out, the zombies then turn on the people.  The whole plot is so popular among video contest filmmakers that I did an entire blog post about the “Zombie Fake Out” trope.  So even though fake blood and zombie make-up is probably 20% off right now at Walmart, resist the temptation to shoot a chip commercial about the undead.
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4. A “Sexy” Doritos Seduction

Note: This video is entitled “Doritos Super Bowl XLVII commercial – 2012 Winner” but it didn’t win. Some idiots just name their videos “Crash the Super Bowl winner!” to help them get extra views.


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Let’s end on an over-done idea that I don’t mind so much; the Sexy Doritos seduction.  These entries always play out the same way. A husband gets home after a hard day at work to find a trail of Doritos on the floor.  He follows the trail and it leads to the bedroom.  He opens the door to find his wife laying naked in bed…with only Doritos covering up her girly bits!  Of course, sometimes the concept is flipped around and it’s a goofy looking dude laying in a bed full of Doritos.  Either way, this gag is extremely common.  Shoot an entry like this and all you’ll get for your troubles is a set of orange sheets.  BONUS EXAMPLE: Here’s one more “sexy” entry that features a woman bathing in tub of Doritos for absolutely no reason. Remember, if you’re going to make your buddy’s hot girlfriend get naked so you can cover her in Doritos you should at least come up with a story for your video. Just filming a girl in a tub of Doritos is exploitative and boring.

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If you’ve ever shot a Crash the Super Bowl entry about any of the ideas I just listed, I’m sorry if I offended you! Trust me, I definitely understand what it’s like to work hard on a video contest entry only to later realize that it was kind of unoriginal. But hopefully this post will help a few filmmakers avoid common, over-done ideas that simply don’t have much chance of winning.

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Via Ad Age: Doritos always has a backup plan for the Super Bowl

Last week, Ad Age posted a short video clip of Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Frito Lay North America, Ann Mukherjee, that included some very interesting tidbits about the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  According to Mukherjee, the return of The Crash is never a sure-thing.  In fact, the marketing team for Doritos develops an entire back-up strategy for the Super Bowl just in case their research tells them it’s time to retire the contest.


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Mukherjee also says that she wants the CTSB contest to be “on top when we stop” so they “can go on to the next big innovation and the next big thing for our consumers.”  What does that mean?  Well, I think it means the Crash the Super Bowl contest won’t be around forever.  In fact, I have a feeling that next year’s contest will be the last installment.  It will be the 10th time Doritos has run the contest and 10 seems like a pretty natural stopping point.

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

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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.

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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.

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“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!

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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:  https://www.facebook.com/DoritosUSA

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