Archive for the ‘Crashing the Super Bowl’ Category

VCN reviews the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finalists

Well the wait is finally over!  At 8PM EST tonight Doritos revealed their 5 finalists for the 2012-2013 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  The announcement came in the form of hosted by the “Doritos Girl” Ali Landry (who somehow looks hotter now than she did in her Dorito ad 15 years ago.)  FritoLay saw a MASSIVE drop in the number of entries they received this year and to me it seemed like the pickings were pretty slim.  But the Crash the Super Bowl judges managed to put together a decent list of finalists.  Each of the 2013 winners will receive $25,000 and a trip for two to the Super Bowl.  And the finalists are….

1.  by Ben Callner of Atlanta, Georgia

2.  by Tyler Dixon of Los Angeles, California

3.  by Mark Freiburger of Los Angeles, California

4.  by Sasha Shemirani of San Diego, California

5.  by Joe Taranto of Los Angeles, California

Overall this is a very interesting top 5.  All the selected ads feel like Crash the Super Bowl commercials but I suspect that maybe Friotlay brought in some fresh judges this year.  These picks just seem a little different than the stuff that normally makes the finals (and that’s a good thing.)  Ok, time for my reviews.  I can’t embed the ads so click each image to watch that entry on facebook.

Goat 4 Sale

GOAT 4 SALE:  This might just be my new, all-time favorite Crash the Super Bowl entry.  I freaking love this ad.  It’s a perfect little 30 second short film.  The actors are great, the cinematography is fantastic, the pacing is perfect and the goat is destined to become a super star.  One of the best things about this commercial is that it actually does a good job of selling the featured product.  Watching Goat 4 Sale makes me want to fill my cabinets with Doritos and scarf down a whole bagful.  This year a public vote will choose one Doritos ad to air during the Super Bowl and then Fritolay will pick a second ad that will also air.  The team that made Goat 4 Sale shouldn’t even waste their time asking for votes because there is no way in heck that FritoLay won’t chose to run this one during the big game.  This commercial is awesomely hilarious from beginning to end which means it will get a huge score in USA Today’s Ad Meter poll.  So if Goat 4 Sale airs during the Super Bowl it will be ranked one of the Top 3 ads of the game and honestly, I think it will actually take the #1 spot in a walk.  Plus after the game millions of people would go online so they can re-watch this ad.  That shot of the goat screaming will probably wind up being one of the most memorable moments of Super Bowl XLVII.

Road Chip

ROAD CHIP:  This one isn’t laugh-out-loud funny but it’s well made and I like it.  It’s pretty obvious that this ad was created by a director who really understands what it takes to win the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  (He’s made the finals 3 times now!)  Obviously super adorable dogs are good and obviously clever babies are good but if you feature a baby and a dog in your ad you’re probably going to score some major points with the focus groups that review the shortlist of potential CTSB finalists.  So sometimes it pays to pander! And I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, I’m being serious…this contest is about making a commercial that will be as popular as possible with as many viewers as possible and people just happen to like commercials that feature dogs and babies so filmmakers might as well give the people what they want.

Fashionista Daddy

FASHIONISTA DADDY:  This pick really surprised me.  I think it’s cute and funny and very slick but it’s not very…oh I don’t know…epic.  This seems like the kind of video that might win $7,500 in a Poptent assignment.  Usually Crash the Super Bowl ads feel more original than this.  The “tough guys dress in drag” premise has sort of been done to death. I also don’t see this spot doing very well on the Ad Meter.  I think viewers will enjoy it and the wedding dress joke at the end is pretty funny but the Super Bowl is when advertisers bring out their big guns.  This ad just won’t be able to beat whatever crazy commercials Bud Light or E-Trade or Volkswagon air.  Again, I do sorta like Fashionista Daddy but no one is going to jump on the Internet after the game to re-watch this one.

Express Checkout

EXPRESS CHECKOUT:  I like this one and I think it’s neat that Doritos actually picked a subtle video that isn’t filled with cute dogs and wacky toddlers.  This might sound weird but my favorite part of the ad is when the Kristen Schaal-esque checkout girl whispers “no” to the jerk in line.  The director of this ad clearly has a strong talent for directing actors.  All the characters play their roles just right.  If the jerk in line had been a little jerkier it would have ruined this spot.  And if the Kristen Schaal girl hadn’t gotten mad at the jerk it would have made her seem mean.  The bad news is that like “Fashionista Daddy” this ad probably wouldn’t score very well on the USA Today ad meter.  It’s a nice little short film but it would get lost in the shuffle on Super Bowl sunday


FETCH:  I have mixed feelings about this ad.  It’s fun and well made and very amusing but it’s very similar to the 2012 CTSB finalist ad “.”  In Hot Wild Girls, two guys gets wishes from a Siri-like smartphone app.  They ask for Doritos and they magically appear.  Then they ask for some “Hot Wild Girls” and the phone thinks the guy asked for “Three Rottweilers.” So three Rottweilers show up and chase the guys away.  It’s pretty obvious that the writer of Fetch was ahem….inspired by Hot Wild Girls.  The plots are basically identical; the stars of both ads discover a magical thing that can bring them whatever they ask for.  They ask for Doritos and then they ask for hot women.  But the magical thing misunderstands and conjures up a scary animal that chases the guys away.  I’m really disappointed that Doritos chose to reward such a blatant act of copy-cattery. It’s a funny and well done copy but that doesn’t change the fact that the writer lifted the concept from a previous winner.

And now, here are a few random observations I have about this set of finalists:

-ONLY 1 REPEAT FINALIST MADE IT THIS YEAR This is a real surprise.  Last year 3 of the 5 selected ads were shot by filmmakers who had already seen their work make the top 5.  That’s pretty strange when you consider that last year the odds of making the finals were about 1 in 1,200. I did an interview with some of the top CTSB judges and posted an article that outlined the reasons why I thought the Crash kept getting so many repeat winners.  (For example, past winners had become friends with many of the judges during their trip to the Super Bowl.)  I don’t know if Doritos changed the way that they pick their finalists but I have a feeling that something was done about the problem since a lot of former finalists entered again but only one made the top 5.

-THE DIRECTOR OF “ROAD CHIP” HAS MADE THE FINALS 3 YEARS IN A ROW:  The one former finalist who did manage to make the top 5 again this year is Tyler Dixon.  Dixon has now managed to make the finals in 2013, 2012 and 2011.  (That might sound shocking but last year a director named Kevin Willson made the finals for a 3rd time.)  Dixon’s entries are always pretty good but it’s impossible to deny that being a former finalist has given him a tremendous advantage over the rest of the filmmakers in this competition.  Another former finalist (that Dixon met at the Super Bowl in 2011) helped him make “Road Chip” and he was able to use his track record and the cash that he’s won to produce a professional-quality commercial.  According to the announcement video, Dixon looked at 100 different dogs and auditioned more than 40 toddlers before casting the adorable duo featured in Road Chip.  Most CTSB hopefuls have to use their own down and cast their buddy’s kid. Even the most professional entrants would be lucky to find a few real child actors interested in auditioning.  But if you’ve already won this contest twice and if your previous Doritos commercials have already aired on TV the whole process of making an entry becomes much, much easier.  Who wouldn’t want to work with someone who has proved that they can get really, really close to winning a million dollars in this contest?  Don’t get me wrong, I think Mr. Dixon is a talented guy and Road Chip is a pretty good commercial but just because you can spend a bunch of money and cast the best actors and get the best crew and make the finals every year doesn’t mean you should.  If you’ve already created 2 commercials that have aired on TV and if one of those ads actually aired during the SuperBowl then maybe it’s time to relinquish your amateur status, get a manager and become a professional commercial director. You don’t need to keep trying to win a million dollars, just go get a job with an agency and earn a million dollars.

-ONLY 2 OF THE 5 WINNING ADS FEATURED DOGS:  Commercials that feature dogs tend to do pretty well on the USA Today Ad Meter so for the last few years Doritos has gone dog-crazy.  But this year they only picked 2 dog-themed ads which is a nice change of pace.

-LITTLE GIRLS ARE THE NEW DOGS!:  I guess Fritolay must have gotten some focus group data that revealed that people love commercials that feature precocious little girls.  Doritos almost never picks ads that feature kids so it is kind of surprising that they’d pick two little girl-themed ads in one year.

-ALL 5 FINALISTS ARE DUDES:  Women might make up 51% if the population but they make up 0% of the winners of this year’s Crash the Super Bowl Contest.  There’s not really a lot FritoLay can do about this I guess but in the 6 years Doritos has been running this contest I think that only like 3 women have ever made the top 5 and that’s sort of a shame.

-NONE OF THE ADS STAR NON-WHITE ACTORS.  Again, I guess there’s nothing much Doritos could do about this but filmmakers….seriously, a little diversity will HELP your entry, not hurt it.  Hmm, I wonder if any of the 40 little girls that auditioned for Road Chip where black, Hispanic or Asian.  At least the director of Fashionista Daddy took a page out of Bud Light’s playbook and cast a multi-racial group of buddies. They didn’t have any lines buy hey, at least they got 8 seconds of screen time.

-NONE OF THE FINALISTS ARE VERY “EXPLOSIVE.”  When Doritos launched this year’s Crash they implied that contestants might want to make their entries exciting, explosive or action packed since Michael Bay was going to help pick this year’s winners.  Well, I guess Michael Bay’s tastes have changed and he now prefers frilly tea parties and giggling toddlers over giant robots and graphic shoot outs.

-ALL 5 FINALISTS WERE UP FOR “NACHO AVERAGE AD AWARDS:  Ok, I did not see this coming.  All of the entries that made the finals had already been singled out by Doritos and nominated for Nacho Average Ad awards.  I really thought that Doritos would keep a few of the finalists in their pocket but I guess if you didn’t make the “Nacho Ad” shortlist you didn’t have a shot of making the final 5.

-I PREDICTED 2 OF THE 5 FINALISTS CORRECTLY!:  About 3,000 commercials were submitted to the Crash this year but by golly I was able to spot 2 finalists ahead of time; Goat 4 Sale and Road Chip.  I also listed 4 other possible contenders and that list included Fetch.  So I did pretty good this year but I’m seriously bummed that didn’t make it.  That one was awesome.

Voting is now open and you can vote once a day for your favorite ad from now until January 29th.  I’ll be voting for Goat 4 Sale even though I’m sure it’s a lock for the Super Bowl.  to watch the finalists and cast your vote.  But be warned, Doritos’ facebook app freaking sucks and every time you vote an ad for Doritos will basically pop up in your timeline.  After a month your friends are really going to be annoyed with all the “So-and-so cast a vote in the Crash the Super Bowl contest!” messages in their news feed.  I’m actually working on an article that explains how Doritos’ Facebook app almost ruined this year’s competition so check back here next week for that story.

One final note; VCN always gets a lot of new readers this time of year. If you’re new to the blog, thanks for visiting!  Be sure to bookmark us and/or follow us on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing:

5 predictions for the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finals

This year’s installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest was kind of a strange one.  For some reason there was a massive drop in the number of submissions received.  Last year Doritos got more than 6,000 entries for the Crash.  But this year they only got about 2,800 entries.  I have a pretty good idea why participation for the contest dropped and I’ll be covering that issue in a post in early January.  For now I just want to focus on my list of predictions for the 2013.  Because there were a lot fewer entries I had a really hard time finding “contenders” that might have a shot of making Doritos official Top 5.  But I have to say, some of the contenders I did find are incredibly strong.  Usually I pick entries that I think the CTSB judges might like but this year I was able to find several ads that anybody would love.  If Doritos’ list of finalists includes a few of these ads they will have made some really excellent choices.  Ok, so here now are my 5 predictions for the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finals.  Click on the images below to watch these videos on Facebook.  Let’s start with a submission that is actually one of my favorite Crash the Super Bowl ads EVER:

Goat 4 Sale

Goat 4 Sale:  If you don’t love this commercial you should go see a cardiologist because you have no heart!  I totally love this entry but it also bums be out.  I happened to find this submission when I went to the contest page and searched for videos about goats.  Why would I do that?  Because this year I tried to make a CTSB entry about goats!  I tried to think of an animal that was cuter and funnier than a dog and I came up with goats.  Our goats wouldn’t cooperate though so we had to abandon the shoot.  But my crew and I were planning on trying again next summer.  So if this ad makes the finals, Doritos probably wouldn’t pick two goat commercials two years in a row.  But oh well. This entry deserves to make the top 5 more than almost any CTSB entry I have ever seen.  It’s just a PERFECT little short film.   I will be amazed if Doritos doesn’t pick this one.  Not only is “Goat 4 Sale” a funny video, it’s actually a great commercial since Doritos get a ton of screen time.  So this entry is funny and entertaining and it actually makes me want to buy the featured product….and a goat.

It’s a Trap!

IT’S A TRAP:  And here’s another one that I love!  This is a great example of what a really good CTSB submission should look like.  It’s got a bearded goofball, a simple premise, very little dialogue, a huge, shocking surprise and some cute animals.  And like “Goat 4 Sale” it actually does a good job of selling Doritos.  “Every living creature loves Doritos!”  What more needs to be said?

Road Trip

Road Trip:  Usually I get kind of annoyed when the same filmmakers make the finals over and over. But like I said, this year the pickings are kind of slim so I’m gonna cut the Crash judges some slack.  Road Trip was made by Tyler Dixon who is a TWO-TIME crash the super bowl finalist.  He made the top 5 in 2011 with his enry and he made it again in 2012 with .   I’m not really in love with “Road Trip” but it’s really good and I think the judges might pick this one because it would probably score really well on the USA Today Ad Meter.  Doritos actually does test screenings of their potential finalists before they make their final picks and I think focus groups are gonna flip for that cute little kid and that hilarious little dog.  So high focus group scores might just get this one in the Top 5.

Blow Granny, Blow

Blow Granny, Blow:  Here’s another ad made by a former finalist that I think deserves to make the top 5.  “Blow Granny, Blow” was created by Brad Bosley who made  which was the only 2011 Pepsi Max finalist that I actually liked.  Blow Granny, Blow is really professional-looking and it just feels like something you’d see on TV.  And again, it’s another spot that would probably do really well with focus groups.  It’s got a fantastic grumpy old lady, weird, surprising action and funny shots of people’s faces flopping in the wind.  I sort of hope this one makes it just t because it’d be nice if one of the finalist slots went to an ad that didn’t star an animal.

Great Lengths

Great Lengths:  This one is kind of my dark horse, wild card pick.  It’s entertaining and cute and funny but it’s nothing fancy and it doesn’t have a big twist or shocking gags.  But to me it really just feels like a Crash the Super Bowl finalist.  And I think kids would freaking go crazy for this commercial.  This is the kind of video that a 6 year old kid would make their mom play 10 times in a row.

So that’s my list.  As a little bonus, here are a few honorable mentions that I think also have an ok shot of making the finals: , , and .  Remember, the real winners will be revealed on January 2nd.  Be sure to check back here to see how accurate my predictions were!

UPDATE: The CTSB rules say that Doritos would announce the finalists at (or anytime after) noon on January 2nd. But it turns out the reveal isn’t happening until at 8PM on January 3rd.

How and when will the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finalists be notified?

Right now thousands of filmmakers across the United States are all wondering the same thing; “When is Doritos going to start contacting the winners of the Crash the Super Bowl contest?”  While no one at Frito-Lay has gone on record and explicitly said when the finalists will be notified, history does give us some clues.  Over the years I’ve talked to lots and lots of Crash the Super Bowl finalists and time after time they always tell me the same thing; the finalists get a phone call from Doritos just before Christmas.  In many cases it seems like a lot of finalists were contacted around December 21st.  But last year Doritos called the winners early.  According to one 2011-2012 finalist-team member I talked to All of the finalists were notified by the Frito-Lay people on Dec. 16.”

I post this information every year and every year I get angry comments and e-mails from hopeful finalists that tell me I’m full of crap.  Apparently some people are under the impression that the CTSB winners will find out that they won when the results are revealed on January 4th.  But trust me folks, I’ve been running this site for a long time.  It has never and will never work that way.  When Frito-Lay calls the winners they tell them that they are a “potential” finalist.  Before they can be considered an official finalist they first have to submit a bunch of release forms and other paperwork that proves they are actually eligible to enter and win the competition.  For example, only US citizens are allowed to enter The Crash.  If Doritos violated their own rules and picked a non-citizen as a finalist they could face a class-action lawsuit from all the other contestants who did meet the eligibility requirements.  So there’s no chance Frito-Lay will risk something like that.  They will have all the winners vetted and locked down weeks before the January 4th announcement.

So I’m sorry to say this but if you don’t hear from Fritolay by 5PM on friday you probably didn’t make the top 5.  But don’t let that get you down!  You had fun and made a cool video right?  Why not build on that experience and go enter another video contest…you know, maybe one that’s 100 times easier to win!  Think of the Crash the Superbowl contest like the lottery.  It’s fun to enter but the chances of winning are sort of ridiculous.  If you actually want to win some money and/or glory in a contest, try one that’s being run by Mofilm, Poptent, Tongal, Womadz, Zooppa or Eyeka or Genero.  (Holy crap there are a lot of video contest sites out there.)  Some of the contests on these sites offer big prizes but only get a 20 or 30 entries.  I’ll take a 1 in 20 chance of winning $7,500 in a Poptent assignment over a 1 in 500 chance of winning $25,000 in the Crash the Super Bowl contest any day.

As I said, the Doritos finalists will official be revealed on January 4th.  Be sure to check back here for reviews of all the videos that make the top 5.  Plus on January 1st I’ll be post my own list of predictions for the CTSB contest so stay tuned to VCN for lots more Doritos news.

Fluffy’s Revenge: An unofficial sequel to the 2012 Crash the Super Bowl winner, “Man’s Best Friend”

If you’re a big Crash the Super Bowl nerd you’ll get a kick out of this entry.  A California filmmaker named Fran Guijarro set out to create his own sequel to Jonathan Friedman’s 2011 submission, .  You might remember that commercial as the one where the giant dog kills and buries a cat and then buys his owner’s silence with some Doritos.  That ad made the finals back in January and then won Friedman a million bucks after it was ranked the best commercial of the game.  I really liked Man’s Best Friend and I really dig Guijarro’s unofficial response.

Click image to watch on facebook

I think Fluffy’s Revenge is good enough to make the finals but I’d be really surprised if this one makes the top 5.  People have short attention spans when it comes to commercials so I’m not sure a ton of people would get this spot.  Plus it might be a little to meta for the folks at Fritolay.  Still, I think it’s pretty damn clever and really well made.

What the heck are the “Nacho Average Ad” awards?

After the Crash the Super Bowl deadline passed on November 16th, I checked Doritos’ facebook page and saw a strange announcement.  It said something like “come back on November 28th for some exciting awards news.”  The official set of finalists weren’t going to be revealed until January 4th so I had no idea what was going to be announced on Nov 28. Well it turns out that for the first time ever, Doritos will be awarding bonus prizes to some entries as part of something they are calling the “Nacho Average Ad Awards.”  Five videos have been nominated by Doritos’ judges in eight different categories.  The commercial that gets the most votes in each category wins a special prize.  Here are the different categories:


Now I can appreciate a hot “babe” as much as the next guy but just for the record, it is 2012, right?  Having a “Best Supporting Babe” category seems so 1988.  There’s a surprising amount of T & A in the five videos in that category which is kind of weird because the Crash the Super Bowl contest has never really been about “sexy” humor.  I think the folks at Fritolay probably understand that some of these ads (like the one that features a triple-boobed woman) are probably too hot for TV.  But at least they can use them to get some extra hits on facebook.  Personally I’ve got nothing against tri-boobs but I think that if Doritos wanted to have a category that objectified women they should have balanced things out by also adding a “Hottest Hunks” category.

Facebook users can vote for their favorite Nacho nominees once a day until December 17th.  The Crash the Super Bowl page is kind of unclear what the winning filmmakers will receive but here’s what the the official rules say:

Each Nacho Average Ad Award winner will be awarded a Nacho Average Ad Awards trophy and a one (1) year supply of Doritos awarded in the form of 52 free product coupons each valid for one (1) bag of DORITOS® brand Tortilla Chips (up to 11.5 ounces) up to $4.29 each.  Approximate Retail Value of each Category Nacho Average Ad Award is $523.08.  Such Nacho Average Ad Awards are unrelated to the Judging Criteria, and will not be considered in and have no bearing upon Finalist selection. 

So if you win you basically get a ton of Doritos.  I don’t think it would be very wise for a single human being to try and consume one full bag of Doritos a week for 52 weeks straight.  So if you actually manage to win this prize I suggest you give a lot of those coupons to friends or maybe a food pantry.

My friend and VCN reader Shane F. actually was nominated for a “Nacho” award in the “Most Powerful Doritos” category.  You can check out his entry and give him a vote by clicking on the image below:

Click to view and vote

Shane’s commercial is pretty good but actually, a lot of the nominees are surprisingly funny and well made.  There are a few nominees that I think will make the final 5 and there is one entry that I would call a sure thing.  I really thought that Doritos would keep the best entries hidden until they revealed the actual finalists in January.  But if your entry didn’t get nominated for a Nacho award I still think you have a chance of making the top 5.  A few Nacho nominees will probably make it but I’m sure that some of the big winners will be a surprise.  After all, Doritos received almost 3,000 entries this year.  I doubt that the judges have even had a chance to watch them all yet.

QUICK NOTE:  I wanted to say thanks to all you Crash the Super Bowl fans that have been visiting VCN over the last few weeks.  We had almost 18,000 unique visitors this month which means November was our busiest month ever!

We want to see your Crash the Super Bowl entries!


It’s Friday, November 16th and that means you have until midnight tonight to submit your entries for Doritos 2012 Crash the Super Bowl contest!  I’m a little sad to say that for the first time in 4 years I won’t be submitting an entry of my own.  I had been working on a really elaborate idea for weeks but we ran into some big problems when we tried to shoot the spot last weekend.  You know how they say “never work with kids or animals?”  Well my script featured about a whole bunch of animals and not one of them did the one thing we needed them to do on camera.  So the whole thing was a total bust. But I think the idea itself is really good and I might try and do re-shoot next year.

So this year I’ll be watching the CTSB from the sidelines.  Although….I might just re-submit my entry from last year.  I’m not 100% sure but I don’t think that’s against the rules.  (Update: It is) I’ll have to check on that.  Anyways, I know that a whole lot of you guys actually did manage to shoot and submit entries so I wanted to give you all a chance to show off your work.  If you have a Crash the Super Bowl entry that you’d like to share, leave the link in a comment on this post.  For some reason, Doritos’ facebook app makes it hard to share a direct link to a specific entry.  If you want to link straight to your video, here’s what you do.  First, go to your submission and look for the “share on twitter” button.


Click that button.   A twitter box will pop up and you will see a link.  That’s a direct link to your video!  So copy that sucker and paste in in a comment.


Every year I offer to do mini-critiques of any videos that you guys send me, so if you’d like a quick review, please ask for it when you post your link. (if you don’t I’ll assume you just want to share your ad to get some extra views.)  As I do every year, I’ll be posting my favorite Crash the Super Bowl “contenders” so if your video is really amazing it might just make my own personal Top 5.  Good luck this year everybody!

Doritos should extend the Crash the Super Bowl deadline because of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy

If you’ve watched more more than 10 minutes of news in the last week you’ll know that a big chunk of the American east coast was devastated by Hurricane Sandy on October 29th.  At least 111 people were killed in the US alone and over a million Americans have spent a full week without power.  Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, children have been out of school for a week and countless roads are still accessible.  Today’s presidential election is still going ahead as planned but events like the New York Marathon were cancelled and Halloween in New Jersey was even “rescheduled.”  There are many, many serious, life-and-death issues that need to dealt with but this is a blog about video contests so we’ll focus on just one, relatively frivolous problem; Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest.

At a time like this it feels sorta stupid to worry about a goofy commercial contest but I know that if I lived on the East Coast I’d probably be very bummed out about the Doritos competition.  The deadline for the 2012 competition is 11:59PM on November 16th.  Most people wait until the last minute to shoot and edit their entries so I’m guessing that hundreds of filmmakers who wanted to enter the Crash this year won’t be able to.  I’m sure a whole lot of people on the east coast had to cancel shoots last weekend because of Sandy and if you still don’t have power you can’t charge your camera batteries or edit your footage.  And oh yeah…if your house is filled with sand and water you probably have better things to do than shoot a Doritos commercial.

So I’ve got to ask, should Doritos extend the Crash the Super Bowl deadline?  In my humble option I think they should.  Things are starting to get back to normal and if the deadline is extended a lot of people on the coast will be able to slap together their entries.  And hey, not for nothin’ but there are some really talented filmmakers in that part of the country.  Just off the top of my head I remember that one team from North Carolina has won the Crash the Super Bowl contest TWICE and the million dollar winner from last year was from Virgina.

If the big wigs at FritoLay don’t extend the deadline there will always be an asterisk next to the title of the 2012 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I don’t think there should be a huge extension of the deadline….an extra week would probably be plenty. I just skimmed through the rules of the contest and it does seem like a deadline extension would be possible.  Check this out:

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including without limitation, infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Contest, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or terminate the Contest.

That section of the Crash the Super Bowl rules seems to give the sponsors the right to alter the terms of the contest if something happens to make the competition unfair; and I think a big ass hurricane 2 weeks before the deadline is a pretty unfair thing to happen to East Coast filmmakers.

Having said all that, a tiny part of me hopes that Doritos WON’T extend the deadline.  I’m high and dry here in Illinois and I’m filming my submission on saturday.  No deadline extension just means my own odds of winning go up.  But since I’m not a selfish douche I think that in the spirit of fairness the deadline should be extended…at least a tiny bit.

12/7/12 UPDATE:  Last week, VCN reader RJ tweeted to say that his editor couldn’t work on their submission because he was still without power.  RJ left a comment on this post today to say that he checked with Doritos and there will NOT be a deadline extension because of Sandy.

How much should you spend on your Crash the Super Bowl entry?

Last fall, about 5,000 entries were submitted to Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest.  The number of submissions rises every year so your odds of winning aren’t super great.  So when you’re trying to decide how much you should spend on your entry you might want to play it safe and follow that old gambling adage, “don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.”  But to be totally frank, if you want to make the CTSB finals you’re probably going to have spend a lot more money than you’d expect.  The idea that an amateur can “crash” the Super Bowl is sort of the whole point of this contest.  But most of the commercials that make the finals are shot by professional or semi-professional filmmakers.  And those pros often spend THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars on their “fan made” ads.  Fritolay’s official stance is that production quality is NOT considered by the judges when they pick their finalists.  But to quote our adorable Vice President, that’s a bunch of malarkey.  If a Crash the Super Bowl entry wins the public vote, Fritolay will spend about a million bucks to air it during the most-watched TV event of the year.  Do you really think they’d pick ads for the finals that had crappy audio or that looked dark or grainy or blurry?  Every single Crash the Super finalist that the Doritos judges have every picked was “TV-Quality.”  And many were extremely professional looking.  Based on their past choices, I suspect that the judges sometimes pick certain ads simply because they LOOK good enough to air during the Super Bowl.

For instance, check out this spot that made the CTSB finals in 2011.  It was directed by a 3-time crash the Super Bowl finalist and produced by a 2-time crash the Super bowl finalist.  It was shot in LA and was created by a crew of professional and semi-professional filmmakers and actors.  Like many CTSB winners, it was shot with a RED camera.  If you don’t know what a RED camera is, it’s a professional, film-like digital camera that is used to shoot feature films like District 9, The Amazing Spiderman and Prometheus.  Its an amazing camera but it’s not cheap and it takes a skilled professional to operate it.

I was really surprised when “Birthday Wish” made the finals in 2011 since the ad wasn’t about the product being sold.  The Doritos only got 1 mention and 2 seconds of decent screen time.  But it looked pretty and it was kind of funny so Fritolay wouldn’t have been totally embarrassed if the ad aired during the big game.  So how much did it actually cost to produce this ad?  Here’s a quote I pulled from an interview with the producer:

“I’m managing about 50 people,” she said about this year’s contest entry. “We had a $3,000 budget, but everyone on it worked for free.”

Yes….that is an actual quote from the producer.  “Birthday Wish” had a budget of $3,000 and 50 people(!) worked on it.  And it wasn’t even a very fancy ad!  It didn’t have any crazy stunts or effects and the whole thing took place in just a living room and a dining room.  But expenses can ad up fast when you’re producing a video that needs to look really good on an HD TV.

Let’s take a look at another very professional looking CTBS ad.  This one made the finals last year.  It only cost $750 to produce and was shot with a Canon 7D.

“Bird of Prey” did cost under $1,000 but I’m guessing that it still cost more than 99% of the other commercials that were submitted last year.  It was also made by a team of pros and semi-pros that had produced some past Crash the Super Bowl winners.  (I think some of the crew may have worked on “Birthday Wish.”)  According to the Bird of Prey website, it took 18 crew people to produce this spot and they even had a professional stunt coordinator.  So most people who enter the Crash could never pull off a video like this without spending a boatload if money.  If you’d like a better understanding of how complex some of these shoots can be, check out this behind the scenes video.

When Doritos announces their Top 5 picks they usually put out a press release that mentions how much each submission cost to produce.  For the last few years, pretty much every Crash the Super Bowl finalist ad has cost at least $500 and many cost well over $1,000.  Remember the Doritos ad “” from last year’s Super Bowl?  That “fan-made” ad was directed by a 3-time Crash the Super Bowl winner (he also did Birthday Wish the year before) and cost $2,700 to produce.  I could list the budgets of a bunch of other recent CSTB winners but the numbers would probably just depress the hell out of you.  Now don’t get me wrong….I’m not hating on the filmmakers out there that have spent or will spend thousands of dollars on their CTSB entries.  I absolutely respect filmmakers who are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals.  Seriously, it takes some major cojones to spend $3,000 on a spec ad that might net you zero dollars.  If you’ve got the money and the guts to go all in with your Crash the Super Bowl entry, I tip my hat to you.

So right about now you’re probably thinking about about selling all your stuff (and maybe your body) on craigslist so you can shoot a Doritos ad that actually has a chance of making the top 5.  Well not so fast!  Spending a small fortune and producing a super slick entry isn’t always a good idea.  In fact, I think Doritos has passed on some entries because they don’t look homemade enough.  Check out these amazing Crash the Super Bowl submissions that DIDN’T make the finals:


Those were pretty damn good and they looked as professional as any ad you’d see on TV.  But they didn’t make the top 5.  I think they were just TOO SLICK to win an “amateur” commercial contest.  So while money IS a factor here, it is far from the only thing that matters.  In fact, if you have an amazing idea, it doesn’t matter at all!  Remember this ad from last year’s Superbowl?

That was Crash the Super Bowl winner “Man’s Best Friend.”  It aired during the game and was ranked the number one best commercial of the Super Bowl on the USA Today ad meter.  And that means the creator of that ad won a one million dollar bonus from Fritolay.  So how much did Man’s Best Friend cost to produce?


So if you don’t have a few extra thousand dollars to spend on your Doritos commercial, don’t worry.  If you can come up with a perfect, hilarious, once-in-a-life time commercial idea none of the judges are going to care how pretty your submission is.

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