The four most over-done Crash the Super Bowl ideas

Pro Tip:  Never use the Crash the Super Bowl contest as a chance to see your buddy’s girlfriend topless

NOTE:  This is an updated version of an article I originally published way back in 2011.  Last year I saw these same ideas get used over and over and over so I figured this story deserved a re-post.  Enjoy!

It’s October 18th which means we’re now just 22 days away from the deadline for the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  So it’s Crunch Time, folks! (pun intended)  But before you rush out and start filming, the first step in making a great Doritos commercial is research.  Obviously, you should watch all the entries that won the previous installments of the Crash but you should also try and figure out which concepts have already been done to death.  So I am going to do you a gigantic favor and list the Top 4 most over-used Crash the Super Bowl ideas!  Every year, Dortios gets tons of videos that have almost identical plots and gags.  The ideas might be new to the person who wrote the script but to the judges they are tired and totally unoriginal.  So if you want to stand out from the crowd, here are four concepts that you need to avoid.

1. Doritos as “paper” footballs



Hey, have you ever noticed that a Dorito kind of looks like a paper football?  If so, you’re not alone because apparently a lot of people have noticed that! Over the last 10 years, I bet fritolay has received hundreds of CTSB entries that featured Doritos being used as “paper footballs.”  I’m guessing this idea is so popular because a paper football is about the only small, triangular object most people can think of.  What’s crazy about this particular idea is that pretty much every Paper Football entry has the same plot.  There is a tense and dramatic stand off between two competitors. The chip is “kicked” in slow motion but at the last second, there’s a twist! Someone jumps into frame and blocks the kick by catching the chip in their mouth.

2. Dressing up in a giant Doritos costume



This weekend, dozens of filmmakers across the country will go into their garages and apply the finishing touches to their homemade, giant Doritos costumes.  Some of them will just be a single, orange sheet of poster board. Others will be meticulous, high quality suits that are made of foam and finished with an air-brushing of realistic orange and brown paint.  But if Frito-lay hasn’t picked a CTSB finalist that featured a guy dressed as a Dorito by now, they are never going to.  That’s because no matter how much work a person puts into their Dorito costume, the gag is just too easy.  Think of it like this; if Bud Light made a Super Bowl commercial where the joke was that the characters were in homemade Bud Light suits, how do you think that commercial would do on the USA Today ad meter?

3. Zombies!



This idea has been totally done to death. (Pun intended again!) If you head to the Crash the Super Bowl gallery and watch 50 videos in a row, I bet you’d see at least one zombie-themed entry. In fact, I just searched the gallery for the word “zombie” and there are already four submissions with the word zombie in the title!

It’s easy to understand why Dortios gets so many zombie videos though.  Zombies are super popular, the costumes are really easy to make.  I’ll break down a typical zombie story for you; a group of friends are running from hungry zombies.  The friends get trapped and the zombies attack. But they don’t eat the people.  It turns out one of them has Doritos and that’s what the zombies were after the whole time!  Oh but once the Doritos run out, the zombies then turn on the people.  The whole plot is so popular among video contest filmmakers that I did an entire blog post about the “Zombie Fake Out” trope.  So even though fake blood and zombie make-up is probably 20% off right now at Walmart, resist the temptation to shoot a chip commercial about the undead.

4. A “Sexy” Doritos Seduction

Note: This video is entitled “Doritos Super Bowl XLVII commercial – 2012 Winner” but it didn’t win. Some idiots just name their videos “Crash the Super Bowl winner!” to help them get extra views.



Let’s end on an over-done idea that I don’t mind so much; the Sexy Doritos seduction.  These entries always play out the same way. A husband gets home after a hard day at work to find a trail of Doritos on the floor.  He follows the trail and it leads to the bedroom.  He opens the door to find his wife laying naked in bed…with only Doritos covering up her girly bits!  Of course, sometimes the concept is flipped around and it’s a goofy looking dude laying in a bed full of Doritos.  Either way, this gag is extremely common.  Shoot an entry like this and all you’ll get for your troubles is a set of orange sheets.  BONUS EXAMPLE: Here’s one more “sexy” entry that features a woman bathing in tub of Doritos for absolutely no reason. Remember, if you’re going to make your buddy’s hot girlfriend get naked so you can cover her in Doritos you should at least come up with a story for your video. Just filming a girl in a tub of Doritos is exploitative and boring.



If you’ve ever shot a Crash the Super Bowl entry about any of the ideas I just listed, I’m sorry if I offended you! Trust me, I definitely understand what it’s like to work hard on a video contest entry only to later realize that it was kind of unoriginal. But hopefully this post will help a few filmmakers avoid common, over-done ideas that simply don’t have much chance of winning.

The five most over-done Crash the Super Bowl ideas

Never use the Crash the Super Bowl contest as a chance to see your buddy's girlfriend topless

Man, time really files when you’re trying to come up with a great idea for a Doritos commercial!  There’s now less than two weeks left until the deadline for the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  So it’s Crunch Time, folks! (pun intended).  But before you rush out and start filming, the first step in making a great Doritos commercial is research.  Obviously, you should watch all the entries that won the previous installments of the Crash.  But you should also try and figure out which concepts have already been done to death.  While running this site, I’ve had the opportunity to watch literally thousands of Crash the SuperBowl entries.  And there are a few common, played-out gimmicks that I see used over and over and over again.  So I am going to do you a gigantic favor and list the Top 5 most over-used Crash the Super Bowl ideas!  Every year, Dortios gets tons of videos that have almost identical plots and gags.  The ideas might be new to the person who wrote the script but to the judges they are tired and totally unoriginal.  So if you want to stand out from the crowd, here are the five concepts that you need to avoid.  For each concept I’ll include an example and I’ll try to only post high-quality entries so you can see that even good production values won’t make these ideas seem fresh:
 
1.  Doritos as “paper” footballs
 

 
Hey, have you ever noticed that a Dorito kind of looks like a paper football?  If so, you’re not alone because apparently a lot of people have noticed that!  Over the last five years, I bet fritolay has received hundreds of CTSB entries that featured Doritos being used as “paper footballs.”  I’m guessing this idea is so popular because a paper football is about the only small, triangular object most people can think of.  What’s crazy about this particular idea is that pretty much every Paper Football entry has the same plot.  There is a tense and dramatic stand off between two competitors.  The chip is “kicked” in slow motion but at the last second, there’s a twist!  Someone jumps into frame and blocks the kick by catching the chip in their mouth.

I’ve been watching the new batch of submissions and already I have seen more than one version of this idea.  But this concept is just too obvious.  If a Paper Football-themed ad did make the finals, you’d have a hundred people coming forward claiming that the winners stole their idea!
 
2.  Dressing up in a giant Doritos costume
 

 
This weekend, dozens of filmmakers across the country will go into their garages and apply the finishing touches to their homemade, giant Doritos costumes.  Some of them will just be a single, orange sheet of poster board.  Others will be meticulous, high quality suits that are made of foam and finished with an air-brushing of realistic orange and brown paint.  But if Frito-lay hasn’t picked a CTSB finalist that featured a guy dressed as a Dorito by now, they are never going to.  That’s because no matter how much work a person puts into their Dorito costume, the gag is just too easy.  Think of it like this; if Bud Light made a Super Bowl commercial where the joke was that the characters were in homemade Bud Light suits, how do you think that commercial would do on the USA Today ad meter?
 
3.  Zombies!
 

 
This idea has been totally done to death.  (Pun intended again!)  If you head to the Crash the Super Bowl gallery and watch 50 videos in a row, I bet you’d see at least one zombie-themed entry.  In fact, I just searched the gallery for the word “zombie” and there are already five submissions with the word zombie in the title!

It’s easy to understand why Dortios gets so many zombie videos though.  Zombies are super popular and the costumes are really easy to make.  But it’s fascinating how similar all these zombie ads are.  I’ll break down a typical story for you; a group of friends are running from hungry zombies.  The friends get trapped and the zombies attack.  But they don’t eat the people.  It turns out one of them has Doritos and that’s what the zombies were after the whole time!  Oh but once the Doritos run out, the zombies then turn on the people.  The whole plot is so popular among video contest filmmakers that I did an entire blog post about the “Zombie Fake Out” trope.  So even though zombie make up is probably 90% off right now at Walmart, resist the temptation to shoot a chip commercial about the undead.
 
4.  Doritos as Mousetrap bait
 

 
Doritos are cheesy. So what do people do with cheese? Pretty much just two things; they either eat it or they catch mice with it. (seriously, try and think of something else you can do with cheese) A lot of CTSB filmmakers have made this connection over the years. In fact, one of them even made it to the super bowl thanks to this concept. Way back in 2006, Fritolay picked an ad named “MouseTrap” as one of the finalists in the very first installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I’m sure you remember the commercial because it was so good that five years later, Doritos is still airing the spot on TV!  In the ad, a man in a suit puts a piece of a dorito on a mousetrap.  He then gets pummeled by a very angry guy in a mouse suit.  The ad is so ubiquitous that it’s hard to believe that CTSB contestants keep doing gags about Doritos as mouse trap bait.  Sometimes the mouse traps are small and sometimes the mousetraps are giant.  Sometimes the mouse traps are meant for mice but usually they are meant for people.  But no matter what kind of spin a filmmaker puts on this idea, it simply has already been done perfectly by a previous Crash the Super Bowl winner.  For example, the moustrap video I posted above is actually pretty awesome. It even won a prize in Poptent’s video contest “Second Chance” assignment.  The way the giant robots lumber slowly in the distance is just perfect. If it hadn’t been for the previous “Mousetrap” ad I think this robot entry could have made the finals last year. But the Crash is all about getting new, off the wall ideas so Doritos isn’t going to pick a finalist that features a “device” that’s already been used.
 
5.  A “Sexy” Doritos Seduction
 

 
Let’s end on an over-done idea that I don’t mind so much; the Sexy Doritos seduction.  These entries always play out the same way.  A husband gets home after a hard day at work to find a trail of Doritos on the floor.  He follows the trail and it leads to the bedroom.  He opens the door to find his wife laying naked in bed…with only Doritos covering up her girly bits!  Of course, sometimes the concept is flipped around and it’s a goofy looking dude laying in a bed full of Doritos. Either way, this gag is extremely common. Shoot an entry like this and all you’ll get for your troubles is a set of orange sheets.
 
If you’ve ever shot a Crash the Super Bowl entry about any of the ideas I just listed, I’m sorry if I offended you!  I understand what it’s like to work hard on a video contest entry only to later realize that it was kind of unoriginal.  But hopefully this post will help a few filmmakers avoid common, over-done ideas that simply don’t have much chance of winning.

Know your Tropes: ZOMBIES!

If you’re a filmmaker who wants to come off as someone who knows what they’re talking about, I recommend throwing the word “trope” around every so often. It’s a very handy term but use it sparingly.  Over-use it and you’ll just sound like a pretentious jerk talking out of his ass.  I found a lot of dry definitions of “trope” online but I like this explanation from tvtropes.org:

Merriam-Webster gives a definition of “trope” as a “figure of speech.” In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly.

Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom… you know it when you see it.

You know in a horror movie when a person is in the bathroom looking into the half-open mirror on a medicine cabinet and then they close it and the new angle reveals a ghost-girl or something behind them? That’s a trope. The goatee as a tip-off that a character is evil? That’s a trope too. Alcoholic cowboys with troubled pasts, hookers with hearts of gold, babies that act like grown ups, grannies that rap, dogs that talk; all these clichés are story-telling tropes. The audience understands what they are as soon as they see them, no back-story needed.

Understanding tropes is especially important for video contest filmmakers because video contest entries are usually just 30 to 60 seconds long. There’s little room for depth or rich characters so tropes are sometimes a handy short cut. Using a ubiquitous character-type or idea can work for smaller contests but relying on tropes in big contests will normally land you right in loser-town.  When a company like Doritos or Godaddy or Butterfinger goes looking for “user-generated content” they are hoping to find something totally new and off the wall. If they wanted the same old ideas they’d just save themselves the trouble of holding a commercial contest and hire an ad firm.

So tropes, especially character tropes, should be avoided lest your contest entry be seen as amateur, unexciting and unoriginal by the contest judges. Even if your video is exceptionally well made it will suffer because in large contests, more than one filmmaker will probably use the same trope you did.  To help you avoid falling into a trope-trap, we’re starting a new feature here at Video Contest News; Know Your Trope! Every so often we’ll dedicate a post to identifying and dissecting tropes that are popular among video contest entrants.

This time we’re going to start right at the top with the trope that I probably see more often than any other; ZOMBIES! Every video contest I see that has more than say, 40 entries will probably wind up with at least one or two zombie-themed submissions. Why? Well there are lots of reasons but I think the biggest are that zombie videos are cheap, easy and even fun to make. It’s also an incredibly obvious idea so you see a lot of new filmmakers and young filmmakers sticking zombies in their entries.

Doritos’ annual Crash the Super Bowl contest is absolutely plagued by zombies; presumably because it’s run during October and contestants have horror movies and haunted houses on the brain. Plus it’s the only time of year where you can walk into walmart and buy fake blood and zombie make up. So it seems like every 10th video in the Crash the Superbowl gallery features a 20 year old guy, covered in blood, acting like a reanimated corpse. (side tip: no video contest sponsor will ever pick a winner where the actors are covered in fake blood. If you must feature zombies don’t make them the bloody, 28 Days Later kind.)

So let’s look at some samples of the Zombie trope in action. A quick search on youtube turned up tons of really not-so-great zombie-themed video contests entries. But let’s start off by looking at two pretty cool ones:

Godaddy contest entry:

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl entry:

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl entry:

Those are the cream of the crop when it comes to zombie entries. But no matter how slick or funny or professional a zombie entry might be, it just won’t feel super-original because the zombie concept is pretty much played out.

Now I could list about 40 more zombie-themed contest entries (and most of them would just be from last year’s Crash the Superbowl contest) but instead I want to hit you with a two-fer. Check out these zombie videos and you’ll see that they don’t just share a common trope, but a common plot! Let’s call this idea the “Hungry Zombie Fake out.” Whenever you see a contest about a food item you’ll probably see an example or two of the Hungry Zombie Fake Out. I wanted to specifically point out this common concept because right now, dozens of filmmakers across the county are probably having a conversation like this in preparation for the Crash the Superbowl contest:

Filmmaker 1: Ok so picture a guy walking down a dark street, eating a bag of Doritos. Suddenly, he sees a horde of hungry zombies so he runs. The zombies chase him down and trap him in a corner…

Filmmaker 2: Oh no! He’ll be killed!

Filmmaker 1: But that’s our twist! The zombie pounce on him but not to eat his brains…what they really wanted was his bag of Doritos!

Filmmaker 2: Awesome! You call everyone we know to be zombies and I’ll go to Party City and buy one of those Gallon jugs of fake blood.

And now, a few examples of the Hungry Zombie Fake Out:

Snickers contest entry:

Hienz Ketchup contest entry:

Doritos (Canada) Viralocity entry:

Home Run Inn contest entry:

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl entry:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIRAj1QJKeo

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl entry

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl entry:

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl entry:

And if all those entries aren’t enough to convince you not to do your own zombie-themed entry for the Crash the Superbowl contest, maybe this will. It’s an actual Doritos commercial that aired in Mexico that features a Hungry Zombie Fake Out!

Doritos Commercial (Mexico only)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ6ytZipq0I

Because the Crash the Superbowl contest receives so many entries using the same tropes, we’re going to try and run this feature a few more times before the contest closes in November.  Have you seen a popular idea that you think we should cover?  Send your suggestions to Videocontestnews@gmail.com.