Doritos announced 50 (surprisingly decent!) Crash the Super Bowl Semi-Finalists

Doritos-semi-finalistsThis year Doritos received more than 4,500 entries for the Crash the Super Bowl contest and on December 1st the judges over at Frito-Lay whittled that number down to 50 Semi-Finalists.  50 may seem like a big number and it is; last year there were only 25 semi-finalists.  But since this is the final CTSB contest and since 2016 marks the company’s 50th anniversary the sponsors decided to go big and pick 50 ads for the next round of judging.  In January, the judges will pick just 3 finalists and then a few weeks of public voting will commence.  The ad that gets the most votes will win a million bucks and air during the Super Bowl.  The other two finalists will each receive $100,000.  The 47 Semi-Finalists who don’t make the Top 3 will receive $2,000 a piece.

I’ve watched all 50 Semi-Finalists and I’m very impressed with the judges picks this year.  Last year’s slate of Semi-Finalists included some real clunkers.  It seemed like the judges intentionally some gross or sexy ads because they wanted to milk some extra views from videos that had no chance of making the finals.  But this time around it seems like the judges really wanted to target millennials.  A lot of the entries feature the quick cuts and tongue-in-cheek absurdist humor that you’ll see in a lot of popular Vines or Youtube videos.  Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.  Over the last few years I’ve seen at least a dozen entries that used the title “Paranormal Snacktivity” but this is the first one that actually made me laugh:

I thought that was pretty great.  In any other year I would say this entry was a shoo-in for the finals.  But I think at least 40% of the Semi-Finalists are good enough to make it to the Top 3.  Here are a few other entries that I really enjoyed.  The first one is probably my favorite….

I went though all the semi-finalists and I jotted down some raw data.  Here are some random factoids:

  • 45 of 50 semi-finalists are men
  • 5 of 50 semi-finalists are women
  • 41 of 50 semi-finalists are from the USA
  • 9 of 50 semi-finalists are from other countries
  • 4 semi-finalists are from Australia
  • Israel, Canada, Romania, Denmark and the Netherlands each had one semi-finalist.

One more fun fact:  As far as I can tell, only ONE past finalist made it to the semi-finals this year.  The one repeater I spotted is Jonathan Friedman.  In 2012 his Doritos ad Man’s Best Friend aired during the Super Bowl and won the million dollar grand prize.  Usually I’m kind of critical of past winners who enter the contest again but since this is the final Crash I figure all bets are off.  Plus this director happened to make my favorite ad in the Top 50 (the one with the guy who faints when he sees Doritos.)  I’m sure some other past finalists made the cut so if anyone recognizes any names, please let me know.

This year it’s going to tough to predict which ads will make the finals but I’ll post my picks for the Top 3 later this month.  Feel free to share your own thoughts about the semi-finalists in the comment section below!

VCN reviews all 29 Crash the Super Bowl Semi-Finalists

This year FritoLay received closed to 4,900 entries for the 2014-2015 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  It took about a month for the judges to go through all the submissions but on Monday they finally revealed their 29 Semi-finalists.  And as always, everyone is pissed off by which commercials made the cut.  I have to say, I think a lot of the anger and confusion is justified.  This isn’t a very strong line-up.  It seems like the judges went out of their way to pick ads from countries other than the US.  And I guess I can understand that.  But all those sub-par international really brings down the average for the entire slate of semi-finalists.

As promised I’ve spent the last few hours watching and reviewing all the ads that made it to the next round.  I wish I could post the videos for all these entries but if I tried to embed 29 youtube videos in one post my site would crash.  So I will just post a few of them.  Each video will be ranked in ascending order.  So the entries I liked the least will be first and the entries I liked the best will be last. I’ll also give a Production Quality score and a Story score for each ad.

#29:  “Selfish Sneezersby Devon Ferguson, Canada:  I really can’t believe the judges would pick this one.  It’s disgusting.  Have you ever seen a disgusting TV commercial for a food product?  Of course you haven’t. Maybe the judges picked this one for the shock value but I think it’s dangerous to put out imagery like this.  The next time I’m at the grocery store reaching for a bag of Doritos, what if I subconsciously think of slimy, snot-covered chips?  Production Quality:  5.  Story: 2.

#28:  “Meditastingby Luke Seer Brown, Australia:  I’ve seen this entry 4 or 5 times now and I can never remember what it’s about.  That’s because nothing actually happens in this ad.  The effects are cool and the actor actually gives a great performance but there’s no plot.  This ad feels like the first 30 seconds of a 2-minute mockumentary about a zen master who loves Doritos.  Also, that opening shot of the guy holding a real samurai sword to his throat is a little disturbing…isn’t it?  Production Quality: 8.  Story: 1.

27:  “The Pink Slipby David Olson, USA:  I hate to be so flat-out negative but this just isn’t a very good commercial.  It’s a good effort but it simply looks bad.  The lighting is especially unattractive.  The Doritos-muncher guy has a big shiny spot on his forehead.  I also think this entry was miscast.  It always bugs me when I see video contest entries that feature a 26 year old boss.  Production Quality: 2.  Story: 2.

#26:  “Thief Catcherby Johan A. du Toit, Canada:  There’s just no logic to this entry.  Character A tells Character B that his Doritos have been stolen.  Character B finds the “stolen” Doritos and grabs them so he can return them to Character A.  But the whole thing was a trap.  The Doritos were never stolen.  They were placed in that room under a bucket of tar by Character A.  But why?  Why set a trap if the chips weren’t really stolen?  It felt like the whole “plot” was just an excuse to show the tar-and-feather gag.  Production Quality: 6.  Story: 2.

#25:  “Trouble in the Back Seatby Jason Johnson, USA:  There’s something about this one that I just don’t like.  I could swear I’ve seen this idea before.  The whole premise just feels so familiar.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?  If you can think of another commercial or a TV show or movie that used a joke like this, post the info in the comment section.  Production Quality: 5.  Story:  3. 

UPDATE:  This post was only up for about 3 hours before a reader named Tim posted a link to the exact commercial I was thinking of.  It’s an ad from the UK and I’m 100% positive I’ve seen it before.  I think it once aired during one of those “most outrageous foreign commercials”-type shows.  I suspect this ad was the “inspiration” for “Trouble in the Back Seat”.  Here it is….

#24:  “Cheesy Teasyby Perry Lang, USA:  This is a pretty good idea but I’m not crazy about the execution.  The set feels too cramped and I don’t like the lead actor.  I think a more experienced character actor could have turned this script into something amazing.  Still…it was ok.  Production Quality: 5.  Story: 6.

#23:  “History Bitesby Adam J. Hardy, USA:  This one is a big mess.  The set-up (Doritos don’t belong in history) has a ton of potential but the script feels like a rough first draft.  There are some good ideas buried in here but the jokes are all jumbled together.  The shot of Napoleon with his Doritos hat should have been cut.  It just didn’t belong.  This entry also loses a lot of points because the audio is really bad.  I couldn’t understand the first line and the first line sets up the whole story.  Production Quality: 4.  Story: 6.

#22:  “Doritos Manchildby Armand de Saint-Salvy, Australia:  Ahem….I hate to use the word “hate” but yo….I hate video contest entries like this.  These type of ads introduce a strange character and then do nothing with them.  The director films a bunch of funny vignettes and then fails to tie them together with a story.  This video doesn’t have a beginning, middle or end.  It just starts, continues and finally stops when the time runs out.  Production Quality:  8.  Story: 1.

#21:  “Mis-Spelling Beeby Brian Kleinschmidt, USA:  I don’t like fart jokes.  I just don’t.  And they really, really, REALLY don’t belong in a commercial for a food product.  To make things worse, the boy in this commercial responds to the girl’s fart by saying “P.U.!” which means the fart was especially stinky.  Stinky farts don’t make me want to eat Doritos.  I think the judges picked this one because they’re hoping that it might become a viral hit before the actual finalists are announced.  Production Quality: 6.  Story: 3.

#20: “Summer of ’64by Dan Stowell, USA: This is another “totally ok” entry. It wasn’t funny but it was sort of amusing. Um….yeah, not much else to say about this one. Production Quality: 7. Story: 4.

#19:  “Baby’s First Wordby Travis Braun, USA:  Wow, I’m having a hard time reviewing the entries that are just so-so. Was this one bad?  Certainly not.  Was it good?  Ehhhhh.  It looks like a “real” TV commercial but the story feels like something we’ve seen many times before.  Production Quality: 8.  Story: 4.

#18:  “Blind Dateby Haidy Bahgat Zakher Ibrahim, Egypt:  This entry is also absolutely, totally, perfectly fine.  It’s not amazing but it’s not terrible.  It’s ok. But if it was shot by someone from the US I don’t think it would have made the semi-finals.  The judges had to pick a few “just fine” entries from other countries and I have to assume this was literally the best ad that was shot in the entire Middle East this year. Production Quality:  6.  Story: 4.

#17: “Doritos Anglerby James Bedford, UK: I love absurd, strange and semi-creepy CTSB ads like this one. However, I happen to hate screaming in commercials. Actually everyone hates screaming in commercials! Viewers already have their hands on the remote as soon as a show goes to a break. And as soon as a loud, annoying ad starts playing people click away. So while I do like the weirdness of this entry it could never air on TV. Everyone would be on twitter and facebook complaining about that loud annoying fish commercial. And speaking of complaints, a lot of people would probably be upset that the director used an actual dead fish as a puppet. Production Quality: 6. Story: 7.

#16:  “Nice Bagby Carl Vasile, USA:  This entry is one long joke about ball sacks.  What else can I say about it?  It is what it is.  I guess it was one of  the best ball-sack-themed CTSB ads I’ve ever seen but I don’t expect this one will be advancing to the finals.  Production Quality: 8.  Story: 5.

#15: “When Pigs Flyby Graham Talbot, Canada: This entry looks amazing but frankly, I don’t like it. The story is really flimsy. The whole thing is just an excuse to show us a CGI joke of a pig with a rocket on his back. The flying pig wasn’t a strong enough punchline because everyone knew it was coming. Some kind of last second twist could have turned “When Pigs Fly” into something special. And this might sound weird but I think this entry is actually a little over-produced. The kid comes across as a child actor and not an actual kid. Plus did you notice even the cows in this ad were CG?? Production Quality: 8. Story: 4.

#14:  “Doritos Handby Todd Dack, USA:  The production quality and the performances are great.  I liked the premise and the set-up but the ending is a little weak.  I wish something a little crazier had happened to the guy who stuck his hand in the bag.  This entry really needed some kind of weird twist to put it over the top.  Production Quality: 8.  Story: 6.

$13:  “Wish Upon a Doritoby Matthew Shoychet, Canada:  If I had one wish I’d wish for a dollar for every CTSB ad I’ve seen about magic wishes.  This is a concept that’s been done to death.  This particular version of the wish-gone-wrong trope is kinda fun but the ending is a little soft.  If you’re going to do a wish-gone-wrong you should aim higher and end on a really crazy note.  Production Quality: 4.  Story: 5.

#12: “Gone Apeby Hugh Fleming, Australia: “Gone Ape” has a perfect set-up but it just kind of peters out after the first 20 seconds. I don’t think the scientists needed to say anything at the end of the ad. I would have rather seen the gorilla do something funny. Also I gotta say, that was one creepy-ass gorilla! I think it was the human eyes. It kind of felt like there was a person trapped inside the body of a gorilla. Production Quality: 8. Story: 6.

#11: “What Could Go Wrong?by Alex Pepper, USA: Heh…I love this premise. It’s brilliantly twisted. I just wish it looked and sounded more professional! This is one ad that would be perfect if it just looked slicker….you know, like a sappy big-city dance/romance movie? The director of this ad definitely has a lot of potential though. The shots and pacing were great. Anybody can hire a great cinematographer but it takes talent to come up with a simple and shocking story like this. Production Quality: 4. Story: 9.

#10:  “Girl Voiceby Keith Hopkin, USA:  This might sound nuts but I’ve come to the conclusion that the director of “Girl Voice” might be a natural-born filmmaker.  When you first see this ad you might think it looks kind of crappy and that the guys look like slobs.  But I think the director made some very clever decisions about how this ad should look.   As it is, “Girl Voice” is funny and weird and kind of endearing.  But imagine what this idea would look like if it was shot with a big fancy camera, a full professional crew and good-looking actors.  It would have zero charm.  It’s a simple, low-budget, “amateur” idea and it only works because it’s been paired with a low-budget, “amateur” look.  Production Quality:  3.  Story:  6.

#9:  “Buried Treasureby Jessica Sattelberger, USA:  This is a cute ad but some people are upset that it made the semi-finals because it violates the rules of the contest.  Entries aren’t supposed to feature firearms.  Not only does “Buried Treasure” include a bunch of guns, the ad ends with those guns being pointed right in a man’s face.  So why did the judges pick an entry that should have been disqualified?  I really hate to say this but I think they let the rule violation slide because the director was a woman.  Out of 29 semi-finalists, only 2 are women!  That’s bananas and totally sucks.  But picking an ineligible entry for the semi-finals sucks too.  Production Quality: 7.  Story: 7.

#8:  “The Portalby Jorgen Persson, Sweden:  Man, that was weird.  I liked it but I don’t think it would go over well during the Super Bowl.  The story progresses slowly and viewers have to pay attention to get the ending.  I guess this entry is the exact opposite of the gross and shocking ads that managed to make the semi-finals.  Leave it to a Swede to create a strange, silent, thoughtful Superbowl ad about an art gallery.  Production Quality:  10.  Story: 7.

#7:  “Mom?by Markus Erhart, Germany:  I wasn’t surprised at all when I learned this ad was from Germany.  That blonde kid is the most German-looking person I’ve ever seen.  This is far and away the best “International” submission.  The story is actually driven by drama and suspense!  The viewer is drawn in and there is a fun sense of relief and surprise when the story concludes.  As a bonus, the plot here is driven by the characters’ love of Doritos.  Production Quality: 8.  Story: 8.

#6:  “I Did Thatby Zeke Hunter, USA:  I have mixed feelings about this ad.  On one hand, it’s funny and entertaining.  On the other, it features gags that have literally been used in hundreds of other CTSB entries.  I would guess that least 70 people a year submit ads that feature actors in giant doritos suits.  And I have seen the girl-with-orange-hand prints-on-her-butt gag a bunch of times over the years.  So even though this was a good commercial, it probably should have gotten a very low “originality” rating.  Production Quality: 7Story: 4.

#5:  “Dog Dreamsby Brandon Morris, USA:  Ok come on….do I even have to review this one?  It’s an original idea, it stars a cute dog and the effects are perfect.  It seems like a shoo-in for the finals.  But there is one problem with this ad; the guy in the car isn’t wearing a seat-belt.  That might sound like a small issue but there are a lot of federal regulations that advertisers must follow.  I’m not sure if FritoLay could actually get this ad approved for broadcast because it features scenes of unsafe driving.  Production Quality: 10.  Story: 7.

#4:  “Middle Seatby Scott Zabielski, USA:  “Middle Seat” is easily one of the best CTSB ads I’ve seen all year.  (How did the director get permission to shoot on a plane??)  The actors all did an awesome job and the editing was perfect.  There’s just one little thing wrong with this ad.  The lead actor is seen reading a book about managing IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome.)  He stops reading and mutters to himself, “So I do have it…”  The delivery was perfect but the joke was in bad taste.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a real (and apparently very unpleasant) condition.  IBS has become an easy punchline and people with IBS are usually quick to complain.  So even though this ad is good enough for the finals, the joke about a real medical condition might keep it out of the top 10.  Production Quality: 9.  Story: 8.

#3:  “The Lemonade Standby David Horowitz, USA:  By my estimates, Doritos has received roughly 500,000 CTSB entries about lemonade stands over the years.  The director of this ad sent it to me during our open review period and as soon as I saw the title I starting writing a snarky review in my head.  But this commercial really took me by surprised.  I actually liked it!  I still can’t believe that someone actually made a GOOD entry about lemonade stands.  Production Quality: 8.  Story: 8.

#2:  “Doritos Tiny Mouthby Chuck McCarthy, USA:  This has got to be the stupidest ad the judges have ever picked…..and I love it.  I love that it’s stupid.  That’s the point.  The idea is ridiculous and I’m glad the director didn’t take it too seriously.  It feels like these people came up with this idea, walked out their front door, shot it in 15 minutes and then ran back inside laughing.  This doesn’t really look “TV Quality” but the performances are so good that I think it could air during the Super Bowl and it would be one of the most talked about commercials of the whole game.  “I got a tiny mouth toooo” could wind up being the most memorable line of the night.  Production Quality: 5.  Story:  9.

#1:  “Tea Time!by Josh Day, USA:  The “Grannies Gone Wild” trope has been played out for 10 years.  But “Tea Time” redeems itself by going way over the top.  These grannies don’t just go wild….they go batshit crazy.  I loved the rising action and the ending felt perfect.  If I was in charge of picking the grand prize winner, I’d give the million bucks to “Tea Time.”  Production Quality: 9.  Story: 9.

So which semi-finalists are YOUR favorite? Feel free to post your thoughts or reviews in the comment section!

Let the whining begin! Doritos announces 29 Crash the Super Bowl semi-finalists


Well it’s official; after 8 installments of the Crash the Super Bowl contest the public has finally run out of ideas for Doritos commercials.  This afternoon FritoLay revealed their list of 29 Semi-Finalists and their picks are completely and totally underwhelming.  Once again the Crash was a “global” competition so the judges had to throw in some International entries even if they weren’t very good.  But even if you look past the token picks from Canada, Australia and the UK the rest of the semi-finalists are still pretty mediocre.  I don’t want to use the word “bad” because most of the ads range from “ok” to “decent.”  But almost all of the entries seem derivative and uninspired; they feel like weak, watered-down versions of the type of ads that usually make the CTSB finals.  And some of the entries use plots or concepts that have literally been used dozens of times before.  Take, for example, this semi-finalist from the USA:

Was that a bad commercial?  Certainly not.  In fact, it looked great and the actor playing the Dorito did a great job.  But over the years I’ve seen HUNDREDS of entries that feature guys in homemade Doritos suits.  And believe it or not, I have seen the “girl with cheese-dust hand prints on her butt” punchline dozens of times before.

Now here’s an entry for Australia that I just straight-up dislike:

That ad looked great and the actor was funny but there was zero story here.  It was literally just an odd guy explaining why he likes Doritos.  I just watched this video less than 60 seconds ago and I can’t remember a single word the character said.  Let’s compare this martial arts-themed ad to the 2010 CTSB finalist “Snack Attack Samurai.”

Snack Attack Samurai wasn’t a work of comedic genius or anything but it was funny, it featured a clever twist and it had an interesting plot with a clear beginning, middle and end. Every year the judges pick a few ads that I don’t think are funny. But at least those un-funny ads always had STORIES. Some of the 2015 Semi-Finalists are just pointless vignettes about weird people doing weird things.

But if you really need proof that Doritos fans are out of ideas you just need to look at all the “gross” ads that made the semi-finals…

Again, I would never say these particular entries are “bad.”  They’re well-made and even a little entertaining.  But they’re also disgusting.  Stinky farts and food that’s been sneezed on does NOT make me crave Doritos. And isn’t that the whole point here? To make me want to eat more Doritos?

Normally I blame the judges when a few stinkers (no pun intended) make the finals or semi-finals.  But I think this time the blame belongs to US.  This year fans submitted almost 4,900 entries and I suspect that FritoLay picked the best commercials they received.  For example, I totally and completely believe that martial-arts/mediation ad that I posted was literally one the best submissions that came in from the entire southern hemisphere.

So if you’re upset about this year’s slate of semi-finalists, don’t blame Doritos.  It pains me to say this but I think the Crash the Super Bowl contest may finally be running out of steam.  A lot of talented filmmakers have stopped entering because the odds terrible and for some weird reason, the same guys manage to win every single year.  I myself haven’t entered the contest since 2011!  If CTSB super-fans like me are getting tired of the Crash then maybe it’s time FritoLay considers retiring the promotion.

Now having said that….I still think this installment of the Crash the Superbowl contest can be salvaged.  There are actually a few really good ads mixed in with the other semi-finalists.  The official rules say that the judges will pick “up to 10” entries for the finals.  But I think picking 10 finalists would be a big mistake.  I’ve spotted maybe 2 great semi-finalists and 4 more ok ones.  Any ad that makes the finals will have a shot at airing during the super bowl.  And if a terrible entry airs during the big game, it will be a huge embarrassment for the brand.  (Do you really think FritoLay wants to pay three million dollars to air a commercial about farts during the biggest TV event of the year?)  So the judges should limit their risk and just pick like 6 or 7 finalists.  They’ll still have to put a few sub-par entries in there but at least most of the winning ads will be good enough to air on TV.

So….which entries do I think qualify as good or great?  Well, for the answer to that question you’ll have to check back here in 2 days.  On wednesday night I’m going to post mini-reviews for all 29 ads that made the semi-finals plus I’ll list the entries that I think deserve to make the finals.  For now, if you have any thoughts about this year’s semi-finalists, feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Which Crash the Super Bowl semi-finalists will make the Top 5?

I usually write a ton of posts about the Crash the Super Bowl contest in December but this year there just wasn’t much for me to cover.  That’s because Doritos changed things up and announced a set of 24 semi-finalists on December 5th.  It was cool to see more of the judge’s favorite entries but the announcement kind of sucked the suspense out of the contest.  Crash the Super Bowl fans don’t know exactly which five ads will make the finals, but no one is going to be totally surprised when the finalists are revealed on January 5th.  But I guess it’s still fun to try and pick the winners before they’re announced.  So even though it kind of feels like shooting fish in a barrel, here are the entries that I think will make the CTSB finals.  I’ll rate them in order of how confident I am that they’ll make the top 5.

1. “Mants” by Tyler Dixon, United States

Mants feels like a sure thing.  It’s not ridiculously hilarious but Mants features traditional CTSB-style pacing, gags and characters.  It’s one of the only semi-finalists that actually reminds me of past Crash the Super Bowl winners.  It feels like this particular entry was made by a filmmaker who really understands what Doritos likes.  And that’s because it was.  The director, Tyler Dixon has made the finals THREE TIMES now.  If he makes it again in 2014 he’ll be taking his 4th trip to the Super Bowl.  In the past I’ve argued that it’s kind of shitty that previous finalists use their winnings (and maybe their friendships with the judges) to secure spots in the finals every year.  But this installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest is different.  This time there are two guaranteed prizes of $1,000,000 and $500,000 $50,000.  Tyler Dixon has never won one of the big bonus prizes before.  But if Mants makes the Top 5, I’m sure it will air during the Super Bowl and that means he’ll automatically win a ton of cash.  So if I were a past finalist, I probably would have tried like hell to make the Top 5 again this year.

2. “Sorry Karl” by Lacey Houchen, United States

It seems like most of the ads that make the Crash the Super Bowl finals are about two goofy dudes who have some kind of wacky Doritos-themed adventure.  A few winning ads have featured female characters but in the last seven years, the judges have picked exactly one ad for the finals that starred only women.  (It was “Road Chip” which was directed by the guy who made MANTS!)  I don’t think Sorry Karl is going to make the top 5 because it’s about two women having a wacky Dorito-themed adventure for a change…but that fact certainly won’t hurt its chances.

3. “A Snack Worth Saving” by Joshua Wong, Hong Kong

Let’s be honest; most of the “international” Crash the Super Bowl semi-finalists were pretty terrible.  That’s because FritoLay had to choose some foreign ads and the pickings were pretty slim.  So for example, the semi-finalist video that came from Israel definitely wasn’t one of the best ads out of the 4,500 or so that were submitted.  It just happened to be the best of the few dozen entries that came from Israel.

Because FritoLay made such a big deal about the CTSB contest “going global” this year, there is no way they can only select American-made commercials for the finals.  So they’re going to have to pick one or two international entries.  A Snack Worth Saving isn’t especially funny or original but it’s one of the best and most coherent non-American semi-finalists.  So it might make the Top 5 by default.

4. “Valet” by Shane Valdez, United States

Valet happens to be my favorite semi-finalist.  It’s simple and it’s dumb but I laughed my ass off the first time I watched it.  And even after multiple viewings it still makes me smile.  I’ll be really happy if a fun, clever, low-budget ad like this one  manages to make the Top 5.  It will be a nice change of pace from all the super-slick, big-budget, RED camera productions that have dominated the finals for the last few years.

5. “Finger Cleaner” by Thomas Noakes, Australia

Oh boy….I really don’t know what to say about this one.  Finger Cleaner is gross and creepy but dagnabbit, it’s also freaking hilarious.  But even though it’s a great commercial, I was shocked that it made the semi-finals because it’s so….suggestive.  I figured that the judges only picked it because they knew it was already a viral hit.  But Finger Cleaner seems to have really taken off in the last few weeks (it’s up to 1.3 million views!) and FritoLay might just have to listen to the people and pick this ad for the Top 5.

Ok so those are my picks for 2014!  Be sure to check on Sunday to see how many I got right….

Doritos announces 24 (surprisingly offensive) Crash the Super Bowl semi-finalists

A typical Doritos fan

I had really high hopes for this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest.  FritoLay had made a lot of nice changes to the competition and for the first time ever, filmmakers from outside of the US were allowed to submit entries.  I thought all that new talent would yield a fresh and fun slate of winners.  But this afternoon Doritos unveiled a set of 24 Semi-Finalists and most of the ads they picked are pretty terrible.  A lot of them lack punchlines or decent stories and many are just confusing or unpleasant.  I can look past ads that are simply lame or unoriginal but some of the winners are downright, straight-up offensive.  A few of them are so inappropriate that they could never in a million years air during the new, family-friendly Super Bowl.  But what’s really shocking is just how misogynistic many of these ads are.  As you watch these videos, keep in mind that views and votes had zero impact on which entries made the Top 24.  A panel of judges from FrioLay and the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, picked all of these commercials by themselves.  Let’s start with a semi-finalist from Israel that would never, ever get approved by American censors:

Ha Ha.  That guy’s girlfriend is a slut!  His best friend is also a bastard but the best friend gets forgiven because hey, (imaginary) boys will be boys.  I wonder if that guy is going forgive his girlfriend too?  Eh…doesn’t matter.  That girl was nothing but a prop for the men to fight over.  She hold less value than a $2.50 bag of chips.

But the sexist subtext isn’t even the worst thing about this video.  The whole point of the Crash the Super Bowl contest is to find commercials that could air during the SUPER BOWL.  There’s absolutely zero chance that CBS would ever broadcast a commercial that included the word “bastard,” a post-make-out zipper sound effect or a totally unnecessary up-skirt panty shot of a floating girl.  FritoLay received more than 4,000 Crash the Super Bowl entries this year.  Couldn’t they find 24 ads that could make it past the censors?

Now if you thought that was too hot for TV, check out this semi-finalist from Australia:

Personally I like this one.  It’s freaky but it’s freaky in a good way.  It looked professional, it was clever, it was unique and it had a big, insane punchline.  This video is so crazy that it actually went viral BEFORE it even made the top 24.  A few days ago it got posted on a ton of popular sites and now it has more than a million views.

But let’s be serious here.  That commercial was about a glory hole for fingers!  Can you imagine what would happen if millions of Americans saw that during the Super Bowl?  If Janet Jackson’s nipple could cause people to freak out, a fat dude sucking a phallic finger through a hole in the wall might break the 7th seal and usher in the beginning of the end times.

But like I said, at least that one is funny.  This Canadian semi-finalist features a punchline that only a serial killer could love:

I’m not going to mince words.  That’s some fucked up shit right there.  I like dark humor and if this idea had been executed a little differently it could have been a great submission.  It’s an extremely well made video and the editing is perfect.  But there are a few little elements that just make my skin crawl.  The actress was amazing and her eyes were filled with so much love and sweetness.  And then he main character murders her.  But here’s the worst thing about this entry; why is the dead mermaid so sexy!?  Was the under-boob and cheesecake pose really necessary??  I know that she’s a mermaid and not a human and I know it’s just a wacky commercial but for christssakes….a guy killed a beautiful woman and hung her half naked body on the wall.  She is literally his “trophy.”  This one will never air on TV but if it did, I think women across the country would (rightfully) raise hell over that “joke.”

Here’s another semi-finalist that’s weirdly misogynistic.  This one’s also from Canada:

I guess that did kind of feel like a Super Bowl commercial….from 1985.  I enjoy seeing sexy ladies in super tiny bikinis as much as the next guy but sexist commercials like this one have been out of style for at least 20 years.  Like I keep saying, I know these are just goofy contest entries but it’s just not cool to show a man pushing over a scantily clad woman so he can steal her Doritos.  Violence against women, even cartoony violence, doesn’t belong in a chip commercial.  Yes the Kate Upton look-a-like gets her revenge in the end but that doesn’t make this concept ok.  It’s not funny, it’s not original and it’s not appropriate.

I don’t know if Doritos had a few, undercover women-haters on their judging panel this year or what but here’s another semi-finalist that’s based on the idea that men love Doritos more than pretty ladies.  This entry comes from Hong Kong.

That video might seem harmless but go back and watch the beginning again.  WHAT THE HELL WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO THAT POOR GIRL!?  She was on the ground screaming in a dark ally while three giant thugs were surrounding her.  She looked terrified.  Either those guys were going to steal her bag of Doritos or they were about to freaking gang-rape that girl.  Look at their eyes.  They didn’t look like they were after her chips.

Believe it or not, I’ve got one more semi-finalist that portrays women as worthless and disposable. But this one’s a two-fer because it also manages to mock an entire religion:

I hate to use the same joke twice in one article but seriously, this feels like a Super Bowl commercial from 1985.  The “hot girl” character looked like she was supposed to be a prostitute.  Who goes to the mall wearing a tiny, skin tight, hot pink dress, 6 inch heels and a ton of make up?  And it always kind of bugs me when writers make jokes about the Amish.  Whenever a filmmaker needs a character that doesn’t understand something that’s common in the modern world, you can just make that character Amish!  It’s just lazy writing.  But this particular ad takes things a step further.  These Amish aren’t just clueless rubes.  The dad is a dirty old man who lusts after a hot young woman that’s wearing an incomprehensibly sexy dress.  That just feels wrong, doesn’t it?  Do you think the judges at FritoLay would have picked this ad if it featured a strict Muslim family that had never been to a mall before?  Why are the Amish the only religious group that it’s ok to make fun of?  (Is it because everyone knows they’ll never see the jokes on TV or online??)

Or consider this; would the judges have picked this ad if the gender roles were reversed?  What if a hunky dude got off the elevator and “Ma” pushed Pa in there?

I know that it probably seems like I’m over-analyzing these ads but keep this in mind; 2 of these 24 semi-finalists are going to air during the Super Bowl in February and they’ll be seen by 110 million Americans.  So the messages and subtext of these commercials are important.  Most of the advertising world got the message a long time ago that goofy sexism is still sexism and that it’s not ok.  I can’t really blame the “average joes” who made these ads but I can blame FritoLay for picking some of these commercials.  The Crash the Super Bowl contest is being run by some of the smartest and most successful marketing gurus in the world.  They should have known that dead mermaid tits don’t belong on TV.

If you’d like to see the rest of Doritos’ semi-finalists, head here: