Doritos…nobody does it better.

Alright people, you always hear me whining about how major brands regularly disrespect the freelance producer by offering chump change to it’s finalists and asking them to campaign for the brand for pennies or for free with horrible odds of winning any type of decent payday……

Now you are going to hear about branding contests on the other side of the online video contest spectrum…

For three Superbowls now, Doritos has done more than any single brand (probably more than all of them combined)to draw the attention of the ad world to the largely untapped freelance creative talent pool.

This year they are blowing everyone and even their own past contests out of the water. Blue Chips may be down but not these cheesy bit’s of gold.

Check it out.

1. Doritos guarantees six (6) finalists.

2. All six finalists will receive $25,000.00 each.

3. Three (3) of the six finalists will have their commercial air during the Superbowl.

4. If USA Today polls your Doritos commercial as the best of Superbowl spot (It happened last year people with the Herbert Brothers “Free Doritos“), than they will give you a $1,000,000.00…… ONE MILLION$.

5. If you poll 2nd in the USA Today Ad Meter, you get $600,000.00.

6. If you poll 3rd in the USA Today Ad Meter, you get $400,000.00.

7. And if by chance, Doritos scores all top three (3) USA Today poll places for the best Superbowl commercials (yeah, I know it’s a long shot, but), they will give those finalists an extra $1,000,000.00 EACH. EACH!!!

Okay, you may say I am biased to the Doritos contest, and you would probably be right. Yes, I was a finalist three years ago and won $10,000.00. Yes it was my first national commercial spot. But just ask any of the other 9 people who have scored national commercials through the process if they are biased. They will probably agree. They will most likely share with you how it has helped open doors in their careers. Point is, there is no better opportunity for a freelance creative than when Doritos runs their Crash The Superbowl contest. Talk about the modern online video contest genre…Doritos started the whole ball rolling……If you have won an online contest sometime in the last 3 years, you should be writing a ‘thank you’ letter to Fritolays.

This is the type of contest, or ‘open call’ if you will, that i know many brands are capable of executing. I also think that five years from know it will be common place. These are the types of contests to be heralded, not the chump change wannabees.

If you want to know all of the nitty gritty details about the contest, hit the thumbnail pic of the Doritos CA$H photo above, and read on.

In the meantime, start on the story boards guys and gals, coz Doritos is cutting checks to all worthy creatives.



27 responses to “Doritos…nobody does it better.

  1. Jared,

    I’m definitely on this! Last year I was lazy and just submitted my previous entry. But check it out! They STILL sent out consolation prizes!

    Doritos Schwag

  2. As winner of the contest last year and a finalist in the first year (with Jared) I can say (and yes I’m biased) that Doritos runs the best contest for creatives period! Some advice for those entering: READ THE RULES!!! For example: I saw some submit entries they made in a previous year but the rules clearly said previous year submissions are invalid. If you truly want to have a shot, you better have a GREAT idea that is not only laugh outloud funny but is ORIGINAL! Avoid the obvious using cheesy fingers and other simple concepts that everyone and their brother can think of, and do something nobody else would have thought of. Once you have a worthy concept get off the couch and recruit local talent for lighting, sound, cameras, makeup,editing, etc to get a quality spot. Look up your local film commission for the largest city near you and they can get you a list of people who specialize in these areas of filmaking. Get off your couch and go find an interesting location to shoot. Get local people with some acting experience to act for you. If your idea is great and others (not family and friends) also agree… Then these people will work on your team for free. If you don’t do absolutely everything humanly possible to make the best ad ever, realize someone else will, and they will beat you.
    Good luck! Ps. When goes live with the contest on sept. 21 check out the site webisodes for more advice and fun funny stuff!!! Good luck you all!!!!

    • Hey Joe,
      Great you could come by and offer advice to the Freelance Community, of which you are part. For anyone who hasn’t followed Dorito’s Crash The Superbowl contest, Joe Herbert and family won $1,000,000.00 last year when his spot not only aired during the SuperBowl (talk about a resume feather in a creatives cap), but it was also chosen #1 in the USA Today Ad meter poll and Dorito’s ponied up the big bucks.

      Joe offers some great advice here people. Follow it and give it your best shot. If you have a great script and execute it well, you have as good a chance as anyone.

      The VCK.

  3. I think I will do it this year. I skipped last year, because I already did a Doritos ad the year before. And I like to do a different brand every time I do a 30sec. spot. But the cash prize does look pretty good! Who picks the top 6? Doritos? or America votes.? I think America will pick the top 3. In which case its a crap shoot. Need I remind everyone what America picked as the Heinz 57k winner? A kid eating a hotdog. lame!

    • Hey David,
      Doritos is the best contest you can enter, hands down. The cash prizes are not only good, they are the best offered to date from any video contest yet in the history of advertising. Yeah, I would say that’s pretty darn good.

      The very cool thing about Doritos is, they themselves choose the top 6. That is as close as any freelance creative can get to receiving affirmation from a brand that they are on the right track. Remember, Doritos will not embarrass itself on a world stage like the SuperBowl. All 6 spots will all be amazing.

      Yes, of the six, the three that air during the SuperBowl will be chosen by America, but here again, it is probably the fairest possible internet vote. With a voting pool this large it is very difficult for even the best organized campaign to thwart the opinion of the masses.

      So again, break out the sharpies and the artist pad. Time to get creative people.


  4. Jared,

    Thanks for sharing this nice post. Doritos definitely gets “it” with video contest and user-generated content. I would love to see them do something with a longer tail, like an ongoing video contest series, but I understand their focus on the Super Bowl (it is the largest, most-watched series of commercials annually). Perhaps if you win you can put in a good word for MeHype? Thanks again!

    • Hey Tyler,
      That’s a big ‘if’, but yes, I have started the story boards for one of my 2 spots. I may not even get to the 2nd spot unless it is as good as I feel this first one is. Either way, I am excited all the way around and for everyone involved. We are living during a critical formulative period in advertising.


  5. With this large of a prize pool, I think we’re going to see online video contests boom! This year’s entries will be insane! This is a huge victory for the video contest community. It proves that online video contests are THE new media of choice. After the Superbowl large companies will begin to question the rationale behind old school Madison Avenue advertising. I’m looking forward to it! Great article VCK!

  6. I hope and think you are right Matthew. All we can do in the freelance community is continue to create solid content and sooner or later the drowning ad agency will have to accept our hand, even if it kills them.


  7. Wow,
    I just remembered that I still havn’t used my consolation prize “Free Dorito’s” tickets that they sent me last year. I will do that this week so I can get shooting. I do often wear the Doritos hat they sent me when I’m doin a shoot.

    Great Blog VCK, I already feel behind on this one and it hasn’t even started yet.

    Last year I found out about this contest on a Thursday night and the deadline was Saturday night at midnight I believe. I coulda done much better, but not “Snowglobe” better;)

  8. That’s gonna be a very huge mountain to climb VCK but if it were to happen it would be very cool of you, thanks;)

    You are entering as well of course right?

    • Hey Danny,
      I am in pre-production as we speak. I will spend all day today in the garage building props. I have a pretty solid script. I would like to produce two (2) submissions, but in the past on the contests I have won, it resulted in wasted overhead, and ideas I can’t readily re-use with that same brand. I may be putting all of my eggs in one basket on this one and crossing my fingers.
      The VCK.

  9. Yes,
    I’m in pre production myself. Here in Albuquerque I can’t find a bag of Doritos that doesn’t have a big white stripe saying “30% More Chips” across the top. Doh!

    what file format do you upload to the Doritos contest? Last year I uploaded crystal clear AVI and an Mpeg2 file, both progressive not interlaced but when the Doritos site converted them they both had bad interlace lines.

    • Hey Danny,
      Every year it has been different. I know with jumpcut it eas different than last year. Last year I uploaded a .mov file from quicktime conversion with cif settings. Something like 500×355 or thereabouts as far as size goes. Bigger is not always better. Depends on how they are running/uploading it and the size of the player (viewing window). If it is a small player there is no sense sending them a 400MB hi-def file. They will just end up squashing the crap out of it.

      When I finally upload mine, I will provide the specs here at the VCK. I will be uploading mine as soon as it is done, unlike some of the 4h’ers (Heavy Hitting Holloywood Holdouts).

      Not sure when it will be complete (not shooting for another week and a half), so it will be a while.


  10. Doritos above all other contests is much less of a crap shoot… Heinz for example was just looking for an interesting clever spot which could mean ANYTHING from funny to witty to happy to warm and fuzzy, etc. Doritos on the other hand is looking for a super bowl spot. It has to be super bowl QUALITY and I dare some to prove me wrong, but it has to FUNNY AS HELL! This narrows the field dramatically! You’ve all seen (if not you should find them online) the previous years finalists (10 total) to see what caliber the spot has to be. IT IS TRUE that there are more than 5 (or 6) great spots worthy of a finalist position. Our host, Jared Cicon, for example had some EXCELLENT spots in last years competition… and others did as well. BUT of the 2,000+ submissions in my opinion really only 20 to 25 had a shot. Those are good odds and you guys have the those same odds… IF your spot is high quality, high concept, original, laugh out loud material. More than any contest Doritos makes it a straight up talent contest and you know going in the exact parameters you need to be in the top 20 fighting for those finalist positions. Not much of a crap shoot if you ask me.

  11. ps if any of you enter and make the finals, maybe I can rally some of my troops to lend a hand in votes! Of course if you all make it, then who knows where my loyalties will fall. I’m jealous we can’t enter this… I would LOVE the opportunity to defend the title and go after another top spot. But on the plus side we’re having fun on this side of the coin.

    • Hey Joe,
      Thanks for stopping by. I checked out about 20 videos in the CTSB (Doritos) gallery today. Nothing jumped out at me as being a major contender, but to be fair I didn’t check them all.
      You are right about the competition on this type of contest. Doritos is a brand looking for the real deal. The only criteria used to choose the top six will be the producers skill-set. The commercial has to ROCK. I really like some of the answers Brett Snyder gave in an interview in early 2007 after his and Billy Federighi’s ‘Mousetrap’ made it to the 1st Doritos Finals. In answering a question from the interviewer about the Doritos competition Brett asserts: “…consider that if 1,000 people enter, then 975 of them will probably suck“. In a line of questioning relating to what constitutes professional/amateur he goes on to say: “Suggesting that someone with formal training is a professional is mind-numbingly ignorant. To see an example of this go to any film school’s end-of-the-semester film festival.
      Here is a link to Brett and Billy’s 2007 Doritos spot, and the article from which I excerpted.
      I am also glad to report that ‘The Gentlemen’ (a term of endearment which the industry is beginning to use in referring to these boys) have gone on to secure representation by multiple production companies and are presently directing commercials on a national level.

      I mention Brett S. and Billy F. because they also understand that the odds are fairly good in a contest like Doritos. If you pay attention to detail and put honest effort into your project, while surrounding yourself with people who can make a potent contribution in their area of expertise, than you have a decent shot at being in the top 5%. Most people will pick up a camera giving no thought to sound or lighting, and allow what otherwise may have been a brilliant idea to fall flat on it’s face. What a shame. You are only going to get out of it what you pout into it.

      Well, thanks again for posting a comment Joe, now I gotta get back to the story boards… oh and hey, I am going to take you up on your offer if I am lucky enough to be a finalist again. Hey, a chip lover can dream, and you boys have proved that lightening can strike in the same place twice.

      Jared aka the VCK

  12. Production Quality -vs- Concept:

    The first year they did this contest there were a lot of spots that looked like they were shot on35mm film, with great lighting ect. (“the last supper” was one I remember). We should not get so hung up on technique. I think its all about the writing. We might all be surprised if the winning ad is a dog on a skateboard shot with a camera phone.

    • Hey David,
      The industry is always looking for something different/unique/powerful. I remember the year Lexus (I think), actually incorporated some hi-8 footage of a little boy opening his christmas presents because it was such powerful content.

      There is a chance you are right, but that dog better do quad flips with gainers and better have some otherworldly hang time.


  13. I wish that were true David but the truth is that a good concept that is shot poorly will probably not get picked. I love my $4000 3 ccd HD camera but if my concept is just as good as somebody’s that shot their’s on a $30.000 camera I would bet that they’ll get picked over mine.

    Hey if the HerbertBros read this I would love to know what camera you shot your famous “Snowglobe” ad on.

    BTW when I first saw it in the top 5 I knew and hoped it would win;)

  14. Hey Danny, I think you meant to say ‘yours’ would get picked over the the poorly produced spot. And all things considered, I tend to agree with you.
    the VCK

  15. Haha,
    no, no, VCK, if you read my post again you’ll see that I said they’ll pick the spot shot on the $30.000 camera over mine shot on a $4000 camera if the concepts were equal. The $30.000 camera will have three 1/2 inch ccd’s to my three 1/4 inch ccd’s and thus look way more professional by default.

    Know what I mean?

  16. It really doesnt matter how much you paid for your camera. if the idea is no good. Speilburg could use a 10 year old VHS-C camcorder! they want a funny idea. And keep in mind they pick the top 6 based on a teny tiny quicktime file! thats not exactly a quality of image kind of thing.

  17. Dang – her hang time is good, but so far I can only get Emmy to do triple flips while holding onto her cell. I can see I have my work cut out for me.
    Good luck to everyone, though it’s not really about luck, is it? Okay then, break a leg!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s