Crash the Super Bowl season (much like the Christmas season) seems to get longer every year. It’s already November 3rd but the Doritos deadline is still 11 days away. The season may be longer this time but the contest is progressing as it always does. Every year in late October/early November I start seeing news stories like this:
I’ll probably get a dozen google alerts for stories like that this month. For reasons I’ve never fully understood, some filmmakers try and get “press” for their Crash the Super Bowl ads. I think these stories happen because a lot of people don’t understand how the Crash the Super Bowl contest actually works. The local news segments usually end with a “call to action” from the anchor; he or she will say something like “and if you want to help these young filmmakers make it to the finals you can head to Crashthesuperbowl.com and watch their entry and rate it five stars.”
Those calls to action always bug me because they show that the filmmakers (and the journalists who wrote the story) were too lazy to read the CTSB rules: Here are the judging criteria for this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest:
Notice that it doesn’t say anything about views or ratings? I suppose Point #3 could be interpreted to mean views and votes but that interpretation would be wrong. (Frito-Lay uses focus group testing to determine an ad’s public appeal) For the record, views, votes and ratings do not “count” and they will NOT help a CTSB entry make it to the finals. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret; the CTSB judges don’t watch the entries on the contest website! So they have no idea how many views or votes an entry has.
But like I said, that piece of info isn’t public knowledge. The folks at Frito-Lay fully realize that hundreds of filmmakers desperately try and get views and 5-star ratings every year but no one from the company ever tries to correct the misunderstanding. And I think that’s because Frito-Lay wants people to be confused. Consider this: if views and ratings are meaningless, why does the website keep track of them? The team that built crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com must have realized that if they put a star-rating option, and if they ranked videos by views and votes, a lot of people would assume that views and votes mattered. And when a filmmaker shares his entry on facebook (or on the Channel 2 news) they are giving Doritos free exposure. A crappy, homemade Doritos commercial is still a Doritos commercial. Maybe your Aunt Linda will remember your ad the next time she’s at the grocery store and the memory will inspire her to pick up a bag of Cool Ranch.
So if you’ve been worrying about your ad’s score or view count you can relax. Those metrics are totally and completely meaningless. Voting only matters after the finalists have been announced in January. If you need more proof just watch some of the Highest Rated and Most Viewed entries on the Crash the Super Bowl site. Do you really think any of those commercials deserve to air during the Super Bowl?