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

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.

VCN interviews Ryan Thomas Andersen, Crash the Super Bowl finalist and creator of “Time Machine”

Director Ryan Thomas Andersen on the set of "Time Machine"
Director Ryan Thomas Andersen on the set of “Time Machine”

I’m not really a big football fan but everyone on facebook seems pretty psyched that the Seahawks and the Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl.  Seattle is super fun and my brother lives in Colorado so I guess I approve of this match-up!

So now we know which two teams will play on February 2nd.  But we still don’t know which two Doritos ads will air that night.  In fact…neither does Doritos.  That’s because there’s still 8 days of voting left in the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I wanna help you use your final votes wisely so let’s take a minute to get to know one of the finalists; Ryan Thomas Andersen who created one of my favorite 2014 CTSB entries, Time Machine.

VCN:  Hi Ryan.  Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.   So let’s talk about Time Machine.  Where did the idea from?

Ryan:  This year, it was actually my 6-year-old son who inspired me!  My son & I were watching “Back to the Future” and when the movie ended he asked if I could make him a time machine.  As background, he always asks me to make something related to whatever we watch.  Cardboard was naturally my first thought – the most inexpensive material – and building this machine for my son led to the idea of what you see in the commercial.

VCN:  What was production like?

Ryan:  The production was simple.  It only took about seven hours and it was a very small crew: Sound/PA/Producer/dog wrangler (my mom).  My beautiful son is the little boy in the commercial, and the golden is the family dog.  It was definitely a family affair.  I used the Black Magic Cinema Camera 2.5k, with 2 Rokinon Cinema Primes.

VCN:  How did you find out that you had made the semi-finals?  Did you think you had a shot at making the Top 5?

Ryan:  I found out about the semi-finals after I finished a job one afternoon.  I had missed a phone call and listened to my voicemail.  I don’t think I let the voicemail finish before I hit “call back!”  I was so excited!  The contest was open to the world this year – I was just grateful that I was recognized as a “semi-finalist.”

VCN:  How did you find out that you made the Top 5?

Ryan:  I was at my favorite breakfast place eating pancakes and oatmeal when Stan “The Man” Lee called me!  I actually walked out of the restaurant forgetting to pay, then ran back in and threw down $18 for a $5 meal.

Ryan shows his son how to "run" the Time Machine
Ryan shows his son how to “run” the Time Machine

VCN:  What did you do after you got the good news?

Ryan:  After I got the news I was speechless.  I wanted to tell the world, but I thought, “I’m keeping this secret to myself for as long as I can — I have earned this secret!”  I told my friends that I made the Top 5 the same day the world found out.

VCN:  What have you been doing to promote your entry?

Ryan:  I have been doing everything I can think of. I have been on countless radio and local TV stations. I have been on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram constantly interacting with as many people as possible.  I have also been shooting videos of my son, and we made a Vlog where people can follow our character “Mr. Smith” as he wanders Hollywood thinking he’s in the future!

VCN:  Are you excited for the super bowl?  Who are you taking as your guest?

Ryan:  I am stoked for the Super Bowl! I am taking my producer who happens to be a great friend of mine. So it will be amazing for us!

VCN:  Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Ryan:  My final thought is this: Even if I don’t go further in this contest, I hope that I can be a true example for others that if you work hard, and don’t give up on your dreams, they can come true!  It’s hard having a child at such a young age, and people can be very negative in this world.  Persistence and drive go a long way. I am living proof of it right now. If you want to see my ad air during the Super Bowl, just go to Doritos.com and vote for TIME MACHINE! Thank you to everyone who has supported us this far!  I am truly blessed.

VCN:  Thanks Ryan and good luck!

I asked Ryan if he wanted me to include a direct link to his entry but he declined!  He said I should just link to Crash the Super Bowl website since that would be fair to all the finalists.  So if you’d like to vote for Time Machine, just go to www.doritos.com

Doritos announces their 2014 Crash the Super Bowl finalists!

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The countdown clock on doritos.com said that FritoLay would announce their top 5 Crash the Super Bowl finalists on Sunday, January 5th.  But this afternoon the clock disappeared and the 2014 finalists were revealed.  Just two days ago I tried to predict which semi-finalists would advance to the top 5 and man, I was way off.  I only got one right (Finger Cleaner.)  But I have to say, the CTSB judges did ok this year.  I think these are 5 decent entries and they’re certainly some of the best of the semi-finalists.  Here’s FritoLay’s official list of winners:

Time Machine” by Ryan Andersen, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Office Thief” by Chris Capel, Valencia, California, United States
The Cowboy Kid” by Amber Gill, Ladera Ranch, California, United States
Breakroom Ostrich” by Eric Haviv, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Finger Cleaner” by Thomas Noakes, Sydney, Australia

Of this group, Finger Cleaner is my favorite followed closely by Time Machine and Office Thief.  Breakroom Ostrich makes me chuckle but I wish it had a stronger punchline.  And while I personally dislike The Cowboy Kid (it’s trying a little too hard to be cutesy) I get that your mom and all her facebook friends are probably going to love that one.

I think what’s really interesting about today’s announcement are the ads that FritoLay DIDN’T chose for the Top 5.  Not one of the misogynistic semi-finalists made the cut.  So why did Doritos pick so many sexist ads for the Top 24?  My theory is that the some marketing genius at FritoLay figured that commercials with a bunch of T&A would get a lot of viral views.  So those entries probably never had a real shot at making the finals.

And you know who else got shut out this year?  REPEAT FINALISTS.  For the last five years it’s seemed like the same people were making the finals over and over and over.  There was always at least one previous winner in the Top 5 and sometimes there were multiple repeat finalists.  One director managed to win 4 trips to the Super Bowl and another director won 3.  But for the first time since 2007, all of the winning filmmakers are first-timers.

1/3/14 UPDATE:  Whoa wait a second!  I got a tip from a reader today and it turns out I was not 100% correct when I said that repeat finalists were shut out this year.  Technically, none of the 2014 finalists have made the Top 5 before.  But COWBOY KID was definitely created by a team of filmmakers that has made the finals at least 4 times!  I say “at least 4 times” because a few team members have broken off over the year’s and formed new teams that also got to the finals a few times.  But the core group (led by director Kevin T. Willson) made the finals with Sling Baby in 2012, Birthday Wish in 2011 and Casket in 2010.  I was shocked to hear that this team had entered the contest again since Sling Baby won a million dollar bonus in 2012.  More on this story next week.

We’ll have to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to learn which 2 commercials actually won the contest.  The ad that gets the most public votes this months will air during the big game and the director will receive a million dollar bonus.  Then FritoLay’s judges will pick a 2nd commercial that will also air.  But that one only gets $50,000.  Then the other three finalists will each receive $25,000 for making the top 5.  I think Finger Cleaner is a lock to win the million bucks.  That entry went viral before it even made the semi-finals.  It’s gotten over a million views on youtube so it’s gonna be hard to beat.  I really thought it might be too gross/suggestive for TV but it wouldn’t have made the finals if the sponsors were concerned about getting it past the censors.  I’d like to see Time Machine or Office Thief air too but FritoLay’s marketing team will probably pick the video that they know your mom will want to post on facebook after the game.  That means The Cowboy Kid has a good shot at nabbing the 2nd slot.