VCN Interview with Crash the Superbowl co-winner, Kyle Gerardi

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In the Doritos Skybox. From left to right: Kyle Gerardi, Nick Dimondi, Joshua Svoboda, Barrett Phillips. Not Pictured (others involved in the commercials) Wes Phillips, Dale Backus (Producers) Brian Oliver and Rosie the dog (Actors in Underdog) and Wayne Phillips (the old man Kids These Days).

Though four consumer-made Doritos commercials aired during the Superbowl back in February, the big winner of this year’s Crash the Superbowl contest were a group of friends from North Carolina who operate under the banner, 5 Point Productions. Last December, that small team of independent filmmakers learned that both entries they shot for the 2009/2010 installment of the contest made it to the finals.  When you consider that Doritos received more than 4,000 submissions this year and only picked 6 finalist videos, getting 2 of the 6 top spots is really an incredible achievement.

And if you aren’t impressed enough yet, here’s another amazing fact;  The 5 Point Productions team also WON the Crash the Superbowl contest the first year it ran in 2006/2007.

When I first heard that one team had gotten two commercials into Doritos’ “Top 6” I was stunned.  And when I realized that these guys were the same filmmakers that won the first CTSB contest I was almost ready to start screaming “shenanigans!”  But before I could even develop a decent conspiracy theory, I got a message from one of the producers of the two 5 Point entries (entitled “Kids These Days” and “Underdog”) and he explained that Doritos had no idea that the two entries were made by the same team.  It‘s easy to believe it was all just a coincidence because both of the team’s entries are just that good!  “Underdog” was actually my favorite entry even before the finalists were announced and I thought it would have a very good chance of scoring big on the USA Today ad meter.  Turns out I was right. “Underdog” went on to be one of the four finalist videos to air during the superbowl and was ranked the #2 best commercial of the game on the USA Today Ad Meter.  That feat earned the team a bonus of $600,000 from Doritos.

When you ball all that good news together you know what you get?  The greatest set of accomplishments in video contest history, that’s what.  Sure, the Herbert Brothers landed the #1 spot on the USA Today ad meter and earned a million dollar bonus last year for their CTSB entry, “Free Doritos” but I think the combined achievements of the 5 Point Productions team top that easily.  For God’s sake, they won 2 out of the 3 years the contest has been run!  That’s amazing.  I was really interested in hearing some behind the scenes details about this whole thing and one of the producers of “Underdog” and “Kids these Days,” Kyle Girardi offered to answer a few questions.  Before we get into his answers, here are his team’s Crash the Superbowl spots:

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The above is the 5 Point Team’s entry for the 2006/2007 Crash the Superbowl contest, “Live the Flavor.”  This commercial went on to be the CTSB winner and aired during the game in ’07.  This was for the first installment of the contest and back then, the prize for making it to the finals was $10,000 and there were no bonuses to be won if your ad made it to air.

Here’s the team’s 2009/2010 entry “Kids These Days.”  This spot was selected by Doritos as one of this year’s 6 finalists.  The prize for being a finalist is $25,000.

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Finally, here’s the team’s other 2009/2010 entry, “Underdog.”  This commercial ALSO made it to the finals and so they recived an additional $25,000 finalist prize.  On top of that of course, they also recived a $600,000 bonus for scoring so well on the ad meter.  “Underdog” was the only Doritos commercial to crack the Top 10 on the ad meter on Superbowl sunday.

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Now that you’re caught up, let’s get on with the interview!

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VCN: So who and what is 5 Point Productions?

KYLE:  That’s kind of a tough one. 5 Point was started in 2007 when they made the first Doritos ad. Josh Svoboda and I weren’t part of the team at that time, but we were good friends with most of them from middle school. Its only been about a year that he and I have really been an active part of the 5 Point team. As for 5 Point’s future: “Underdog” and “Kids These Days” might be the last you see of 5 Point, we’re gonna try and take a few jobs if we need them, but right now the main focus is on a short film.

VCN:  What kind of gear did you use to shoot “Underdog” and “Kids These Days?” Do you own your gear?

KYLE:  We used the Canon 5D Mark II to shoot both commercials. It’s a pretty inexpensive camera that shoots incredible HD footage, so we had to get one.

VCN:  I was amazed when I found out that one team of filmmakers had gotten two entries in the finals this year and I was totally blown away when I found out that you guys were the winners of the 2007 contest. Did Doritos know “Underdog” and “Kids These Days” were by you guys? If not, how did they react when they found out?

KYLE:  No, they didn’t know at first. We put different names and addresses on the commercials just in case they liked them both. We couldn’t believe for the longest time that both were finalist, we thought some sorry son of a bitch was playing a joke on us.

VCN:  Did anyone ever worry that it might look kind of suspicious that the 2007 winners did so well again this year? Do you think Doritos would have picked both your videos if they knew who made them?

KYLE:  I think so. Josh’s name was on Underdog and he had no connection with the competition in 2007 whatsoever. However, “Kids These Days” had the name of one the people involved in the 2007 commercial, but I like to think they just picked it because they thought it was a great spot.

The 5 Points team filming "Kids these Days"
The 5 Points team filming “Kids these Days”

VCN:  A few days before the Superbowl, CBS aired a TV special about Superbowl commercials and they aired “Kids these Days” and said it was one of the ads that were going to play on Sunday. It of course didn’t air though. Did you guys get a ton of calls from people telling you your ad was going to air? Do you know how or why that happened?

KYLE:  I don’t know what that was about, but our phones were ringing off the hook. I tried not to pay much attention to it, but I figured if CBS was airing the Super Bowl they knew what commercials that were going to play… It kind of killed my buzz. I always had a lot more faith in Underdog, truth be told.

VCN:  “Underdog” was the first CTSB winner of the night to air. Was there a special reason for that?

KYLE:  Probably because I was being a little weirdo during the Super Bowl. I think they just called CBS and told them to play it first so I would calm the hell down. It’s torture not knowing if your commercial is gonna air or not, and I had no idea I’d handle pressure so terribly. My heart was about to pound out of my chest during every commercial break. If it weren’t for the 2 Xanax I took before the game I most likely would have had a heart attack.

VCN:  Do you guys know how your videos did in the online voting? Do you know if you made the top three or do you think that “Underdog” might have been Dortio’s choice as the bonus ad?

KYLE:  I’m not going to say how I know, but I know for a fact we had enough votes to make top 3.

VCN:  How did you guys find out you won 2nd place on the ad meter? How’d you celebrate?

KYLE:  It was actually Dave Herbert who told us at first, he had his cell phone on him and was surfing the web. It wasn’t really set in stone until Rudy Wilson (CEO Doritos) got up in front of everyone on the bus ride back to the hotel and said “I’m out $600 grand, because Underdog got 2nd place.”

I remember the feeling that came over me, the first thing that popped in my head was “I can finally make a movie.” I can’t think of a happier moment in my life. That night we didn’t really celebrate that much. We had a few beers and got to say goodbye to everyone… It was really sad leaving those guys, all the other finalists are amazing people. Believe it or not I was hoping to see Snack Attack or Smackout play in the 4th spot over “Kids These Days.”

On the set of Underdog.  The small camera in the shot is the Canon 5D used to film both finalist videos.
On the set of Underdog. The small camera in the shot is the Canon 5D used to film both finalist videos.

VCN:  You obviously spent a lot of time with the Crash the Superbowl folks. Did you get the impression that they will bring the contest back this fall?

KYLE:  I think they will. It looked like they got just as big a rush out of it as we did.

VCN:  What do you guys plan to do now?

KYLE:  We got some attention from the commercials, so we’re gonna try and make some extra dough. Within the next month or so I’d also like to get rolling on a short film.

VCN:  If the CTSB contest comes back, would you guys be up for replacing the Herbert Brothers as the “Kings of the Crash” and being the contest’s spokesmen? (I think that’d be great and I hope that’s what happens)

KYLE:  Certainly not me personally. I’m way to ugly to be in front of the camera.

VCN:  You guys certainly seem to have figured out the recipe for success in this particular contest. Have any advise for aspiring Crash the Superbowl contestants?

KYLE:  I guess just don’t be too hard on yourself. Before I knew we were finalists I was convinced that “Underdog” and “Kids These Days” were the two biggest piles of shit on the planet. I couldn’t believe Doritos picked them. Sorry, I know “believe in yourself” sounds lame.

VCN:  Thanks a ton to Kyle for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations to all of his teammates!

Help ensure that Crash the Superbowl will be back next year!

Not pictured: you.
Not pictured: you.

It’s been a week now since Doritos announced their 6 Finalists in the Crash the Superbowl contest and it seems that the unanimous opinion of the people of the Internetz is that Dorito’s “Top 6” selections are….not wonderful, which is surprising because last year, all 5 Crash the Superbowl finalists were exceedingly wonderful! They were all tremendous, hilarious and totally original. (Well, that one with the cat wasn’t that hilarious but I’m trying to make a point here.) I hate to say it but pretty much every finalist commercial from last year is better than every finalist commercial this year. With one exception…but I’ll talk about that in a second.

I entered the Crash the Superbowl contest this time around and of course I would have loved to get to the finals. But because of the extreme level of quality seen in last year’s finalists, I didn’t get my hopes up. This was the first year I entered the competition and in all honesty, I saw my CTSB experience this year as a test run for next year. This year I figured out what I could pull together and for how much and in what type of time frame. So I wasn’t heart broken when I didn’t get an e-mail from Doritos before the official notify date. I was actually really looking forward to the announcement of the finalists so that I could see some kick ass video contest entries.

But there isn’t a ton of kick-ass going on in the official Top 6. All of the finalists are…ok. Two of them though are so technically flawed that I am stunned that they could have made it this far. A third has an inexplicably cruel story that makes absolutely no sense. But it looked slick so I guess that was good enough to make it this year. Not making the finals is not a big deal. But seeing sub-par ads reach the Top 6 really stings.

A bizarre mix of WIN and FAIL
A bizarre mix of WIN and FAIL

So we’re all upset. But what can we do about it? Right now, I think the best course of action for all us disgruntled Doritos fans should be to start looking towards next year. The smartest thing we can do now is try to ensure that Doritos will bring the Crash the Superbowl contest back this fall.

How do we do that? By helping Doritos score another USA Today Ad meter win. As our pal Rummy once said, You go to war with the army you have, not the one you wish you had. That means instead of moaning about what videos SHOULD have made it to the finals, contestants should focus on ensuring that the best videos of the Top 6 make it to the Superbowl. Breaking into the Top 3 on the Ad Meter is the entire point of this year’s contest,. So if the selected commercials flop and don’t accomplish that goal, Doritos might decide to try something different in 2011.

So, for the next week or so, we will be reviewing all 6 of this year’s Crash the Superbowl finalists. Not only will we be critiquing these entries, but we will be analyzing their theoretical chances on the USA Today Ad Meter poll. We’ll be explaining which videos would have a fighting chance and which would be doomed to be remembered as the lamest spots of the game.

Spoiler alert! We have already been calculatin’ the odds of each video and have determined the entry that has the best chance of scoring a Top 3 spot is UNDERDOG. Not only does it have the best chances, it was actually my personal favorite video before the finalists were even announced! So in the case of Underdog, I was very happy to see it make the finals. We’ll have more on UNDERDOG and why we think it has what it takes to score another big win for Doritos, later. But since there are only 20 DAYS left to cast your votes, I wanted to declare Underdog as our official pick right now. If you look at the upper right hand corner of our sidebar, you’ll see a little daily reminder to vote. Click that banner and you’ll go right to Underdog’s page on the Crash the Superbowl site.  And if you head to Doritoscontest.com, you can learn more about the entry and the guys who made it.



If you want another chance at Crashing the Superbowl, you first have to help make sure the contest comes back. So do like Beardy and vote everyday for the unstoppable juggernaut that is UNDERDOG!

Doritos’ 2010 Crash the Superbowl Finalists

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Well it’s finally D (for Doritos) day.  Last night, at midnight central time, Doritos revealed the Top 6 finalists for their 2010 installment of the Crash the Superbowl commercial contest.  The prize for making it to this round is $25,000 and a trip to the big game for each filmmaker.

Voting is now open and the public will decide which three of these submissions make it to the Superbowl.  The finalists are:

“Underdog” AKA “Animal Cruelty” by jwsvoboda.  Video #5584.

“The Smackout” by bhayword.  Video #5511

“Casket” AKA “The Casket” by ms.  Video #4374

“Snack Attack Samurai” by CBer.  Video #1786

“House Rules” by Dejesus_77.  Video #3713

“Kids These Days” by Blackmariastudios.  Video #5427

You can watch all the videos and vote for your favorite at the Crash the Superbowl site.

I had figured that when the finalists were announced I would post the results and share my impressions but….I have no idea what to say here.  There are two spots that I prefer but the rest are just…baffling.  I know that I recommended that Doritos consider some entries for the top 6 that were rough around the edges but I never thought they’d choose entries that had actual technical flaws.

I am also feeling pretty burned about “The Casket” making the finals.  As I’ve mentioned, my entry for the Crash the Superbowl contest, “Rest in Chips” was also about a guy who faked his death and in accordance with his fake last wish was buried in a casket full of Doritos that gets knocked over.  As I explained in yesterday’s post and this post from November 19th, I suspect that I might be the victim of plagiarism. If you watch both entries and ignore the superficial aesthetic elements (camera quality, location, actors, costumes) and compare the concept and story elements (fake funeral, a final wish, a casket of doritos, knocked over casket etc) it’s hard to deny that both videos MAY have both based on my original concept (which anyone could have seen in a storyboard I posted to youtube in October.)  But even if I wasn’t plagiarized, my video was posted first.  I never expected to make it to the finals but a major part of each entry’s score was “Originality.”  And I believe that I read that if two similar ideas were posted, the originality score of the video that was uploaded second would take a hit.  I even e-mailed Doritos and told them about my plagiarism concerns and so I can’t believe that “The Casket” still made it.  The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that they almost are hoping for controversy.

Since I’m sort of at a loss for words right now, how about I turn the discussion over to you?  What do you guys think of the finalists?  Let us know in the comment section…..

UPDATE: SWEET JUMPING JESUS!!! It turns out that TWO of the entries in the top 6 were created by the same people! They are posted under different names but both “Kids these Days” and “Underdog” are products of a company called 5 Point Productions. That blows my mind!! People are going to flip the F#$% out when they hear about this. I think “Underdog” is great but the other entry is just ok. Doritos couldn’t spread the wealth around a little? In no way do I blame the 5 Point Productions people for this. Good for them for kicking so much ass. They couldn’t find ONE more decent spot among the 4067 that were posted!?