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.