Doritos’ Fat Lady Has Sung (VCK Top Ten)

Hear ye, humble subjects of the Video Contest Kingdom,
The eleventh hour has come and gone. The finalists for the 2011-2012 CTSB have been selected. If Doritos hasn’t notified you by now, you should probably stop waiting by the phone and move on to greener fields. The alfalfa in this one has been well trodden under foot,… several times over.

I offer this information as a service to fellow freelance creatives of the Kingdom. Sort of like an early Christmas present. I do it because although, initially, the news may sting, it is better to invest only the required time and emotion on any given contest. For the CTSB, that time is fulfilled. I’d rather see the 3,000 or so CTSB runners up (myself included), move on through the holidays without the incumbrance of CTSB expectation. Though at first it may not seem so, there is a benefit to the clarity we can gain as we enjoy this very important holiday season with those that matter most, our friends, family and loved ones.

The year I was a finalist, I was notified on December 17th. There were tons of paperwork to fill out and agreements to sign, documents to get notarized, etc. etc.. My spot required no ‘changes’ as dictated by Doritos. I was the only actor, writer, editor, owner of all content, a true one-man-show. December 17th was sufficient time for me to get my ducks in a row where the CTSB peeps were concerned.  Where spots have multiple actors/owners-of-content/VO/etc., Doritos has learned the sooner they get documentation back, the better. When you add in that Doritos often has producers re-edit and change things before the brand is 100% comfortable with the spot,…I would imagine the notification date could happen even much earlier than December 17th. So here with only four business days left before Christmas, I am calling the race.

My goal is simple. It is a gesture to help unclutter the minds and expectations of the all but 5 creators who submitted to the CTSB contest. I would much prefer my peers in freelance video production to have the soonest opportunity possible to get past this nail-biting segment of the CTSB contest, freeing up time and attention better spent on other projects and career advancing goals.

When next year comes around, if Doritos is still running the CTSB, and if my production schedule allows it, I’ll once again submit to the contest and hope for the best, but I always prefer to know as soon as possible when I am out of contention in any given contest and it is why I’m posting this royal proclamation in the Video Contest Kingdom today.

Whoever and wherever you are, His Highness congratulates you. I know exactly what you are feeling right now and it is awesome. You are going to reap rewards, some of which you may only have heretofore dreamed of. From the perspective of a past finalist, His Highness would like to offer some caution, and a few tidbits of wisdom to the CTSB select.
You are about to be sent off on likely the most time-consuming, passionate, stressful, amazing, sleep-depriving odyssey of your lives. You will find yourselves asking the types of favors you are not used to asking. You will find yourself straining relationships with acquaintances who may not share the same passion as yourselves (or at least not to the same extent as you do). You should try your best to set time limits for internet stumping and stick to a schedule for yourself and your campaigners, doing your honest best to stay within those limitations. It is a long campaign journey, and it will change you. Be prepared for that.

Failing to take inventory of, and plan for the awesome journey in front of you will likely result in unintended pitfalls and consequences in relationships between yourself, friends and family, and those you love. Be aware of how your campaigning can greatly (and potentially negatively) effect your ‘regular job’ and the other responsibilities in your life which you will be required to ignore (to a greater or lesser extent).

By all means, do what you can to make yourself most visible on the Doritos social networking radar, since that is what will increase your chance of prevailing, (or so they say), but in the end, remember……when the dust settles, even if you are fortunate enough to score Superbowl play during the big game, soon thereafter, life in February 2012 will return pretty much to the way it was in early December 2011. You however, will be left to appraise the aftermath of your odyssey. And if you aren’t lucky enough to have your spot air during the game itself, you will reflect on the efforts you made over the previous month, and justify wether or not the efforts were worth the prize.

I really hope my perspective is appreciated here. I’d prefer not to be misunderstood. I am not trying to throw a wet towel on the party. I am being a realist. I am coming from the perspective of having been a finalist and experiencing first hand what it does to your life and the residual fallout to all of those around you. In the end, I think only those who have done what a ‘finalist’ does, and felt what a ‘finalist’ feels, can fully understand the things I’m sharing here in this paragraph. If you have never been a finalist in the CTSB, I don’t blame you for rolling your eyes. But I would bet that even CTSB immortals like the Herbert Brothers, who not only won the contest, but reaped the $1,000,000.00 brass-ring-top-prize bonus, would share that much of what I offer is frank and honest. Who knows, maybe Joe Herbert (brain behind the Herbert Brothers), will offer his two cents here at the VCK, and provide additional perspective, the likes of which only he could offer, considering their own very unique CTSB odyssey.

The King is very excited to see which spots made it to the top five. I wish I had more time to watch all of the videos submitted to the gallery, but there were just too many. I took in a little over a thousand or so. It would be very cool if I ended up being right about a few of them relative to my top ten picks below. Yes, I made a few changes in the list from when I rated them a few blog posts ago, and I know I haven’t seen all of the submissions to the gallery, so I hardly claim this to be a definitive representation of the entire gallery, but if the ones I viewed, do in fact represent the best of the crop, I would not be the least bit surprised if 2 or 3 or more of these picks ended up being in the final five.

Good Luck to you all and remember the sage advice offered by His Highness should you be chosen as a CTSB finalist.

VCK TOP 10 PICKS for the CTSB 2011-2012:
Taze The Flavor V-3
Bird Of Prey 
The Doritos Proposal
Man’s Best Friend
Doritos Triangle
She’s The One 
My Friend Archie
Don’t Cry For Me
The Tantrum
Kitty Heist
Free Sample
Magic Pitchy Catch

NOTE: As the weeks progress and as more quality videos come to the attention of The VCK, this list will occasionally change. There are currently 13 videos, which will eventually shorten to ‘ten’, after careful consideration is given to the matter. For now, enjoy all thirteen. They are all awesome videos. Special thanks to Matt Pulliam for his time/help in the matter.


26 responses to “Doritos’ Fat Lady Has Sung (VCK Top Ten)

  1. I agree 100%… That I am the brains of all the Herbert brothers.

    • Hey Joe,
      Good of you to visit the VCK. Do you have anything you’d like to share with the readers? You probably have had the most comprehensive CTSB experience of anyone, having experienced all levels of winning and losing on every scale. Thoughts?
      The King

  2. vck
    thank you for investing your time and energy – pro-bono – to review the ads submitted to you this year! out of curiosity, is there a link on your site that lists your 2010-2011 leader board and top 10? again, thanks for being a great resource for everyone.

  3. Interesting that only 1-2 of 10 of your picks has “physical/bodily harm done to an adult male (usually caucasian)” when the single most important criteria in your reviews was inclusion of carnage (defined by you as “impaled, tripped, exploded, hit, stabbed, or flattened”)

    “Without some gratuitous way-laying or below-the-belt mayhem usually inflicted on an adult male….most spots have ’0′ chance of even causing a blip on the Doritos comedy radar.” (your quote)

    I’d have thought you’d follow your own advice and pick 10 spots with carnage. 80-99% chance that’s what Doritos will pick according to you, so why did you go with 8-9 spots that only have 1-20% of getting picked?

    Just curious – they’re all funny and good spots imo.

    • Excellent question Matt. If Doritos had NEVER chosen a carnage-less finalist spot, then I would not have included any of the carnage-light (or carnage-less) spots in my top bracket. But since they have done so in the past,…so too have I. Admittedly, though I do think it is risky of creatives to limit themselves to a 20% chance of prevailing, these spots must still be considered in the running.

      Now, with only a 1,000 or so videos having been reviewed, I am sure there are probably still, some un-reviewed spots in the CTSB gallery that contain wonderful comedy and carnage. They have yet however to come to the VCK’s attention. When/if they do, I’ll include them in my leader board.

      I stand by my current top ten though, in that I think any of them could/should be on the CTSB/Snack-Strong radar.

      And now I will take you to task regarding the malleable definition of carnage.

      Taze The Flavor – a Senior citizen getting electrocuted
      Bird of Prey – A chubby white male breaking his neck flying into a window
      The Doritos Proposal – A male fiancee getting the snot slapped out of him
      My Friend Archie – Robot owner getting mauled by pet robot
      Man’s Best Friend – The implied carnage of a canine murdering and burying a feline.

      At least four of these and possible 5, contain the type of carnage annually rewarded by Doritos.

      Please don’t ding His Highness because he describes carnage in occasionally ‘narrow’ terms. It frankly takes an awful lot of time to tender these thoughtful/un-rushed reviews, and I simply don’t have the time to include with each review an entire laundry list of what constitutes ‘carnage’ in the view of Doritos. After all it is the re-curring and re-newing creativity of each year’s new cast of finalists that continues to redefine what ‘carnage’ means. I think though that we would both agree the story-lines of these five submissions are malevolent, lethal and/or violent in an either overtly or covertly way.

      Having said that, I still believe the un-masked blatant in-your-face expression of carnage is the beat route to take if you are to impress the Doritos judges.

      Thanks Matt. Hey, did you check out Keith Hopkin’s video from my prior blog post?
      The King

  4. Yep, I really like the GoPro and cute animals are always viral video gold.

    And yes, Doritos has gone for slapstick comedy in the past, we’ll just have to see if any, and which, of the “carnage” submissions nailed it with positive branding + LOL. There’s a lot of good ones this year, it’ll be a tough choice. My guess is it’s which ever ones make the Ad Execs laugh the loudest (or their test marketing group…) Who knows??

    No dings for the description, just praise for pointing out what maybe 4950+ producers failed to notice or chose not to follow.

    • I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Duke who introduced me to DSLRs. I still remember the overhead crane shot of you leaving a home on a bicycle (I believe) and the pure ‘specialness’ of the footage.
      Be sure and let one of the banquet wenches fill your mug to the brim with grog at the royal banquet hall. Sir Mighty Matt has a permanent place setting at the VCK round table of creatives.
      The King

  5. The history of the Crash seems to indicate that they select entries that show the act of carnage (comedy/film people might call it a sight gag) – not cut away from it as in “Taze the Flavor” or imply it as in “Man’s Best Friend.” It’s the delight in the gag that’s important for comedy, not the plot point IMO.

    Also, a recent finalists’ sight gag was someone getting tazed over a bag of Doritos (which was showed), so I’d think Doritos would go for something uncharted with the variety they have to choose from.

    The exception to showing “the act” might be a surprise sight gag ending that gets the laugh as in the recent finalist “Duct Tape.”

    But it’s comedy, so whatever works, works! Even if it shouldn’t!

    • Hey Matt,
      I’ll also be curious to see how it plays out. Thing is, since we don’t have all the facts (gems in the rough from the remaining 2,000 or so videos), it will be hard to know how/why any of these top ten were evaluated, if they end up not making the cut. We really would need to see all of the contenders in order to draw any kind of conclusion.

      BTW, ‘Duct Tape is not a ‘recent’ submission to The Crash. It was a finalist entry along with mine, the first year of the CTSB and was the brain child of none other than ‘The Herbert Brothers’.

    • Matt, In our ad (taze the flavor V3) The old lady gets tazed, and yes you are correct it is not shown. However if you go to the gallery and type taze down at the bottom you will find six ads we produced with the old lady and the young man (which all start the same with the same build up but each end slightly different). The first one that appears is Taze The Flavor V1 In which the uncensored carnage is shown.
      Here is the video mentioned; Taze The Flavor V1
      Thanks, Keith D. Jones

      • Hey Keith, here is how I wish your submissions and comments on blogs went down:

        Keith D. J.: “Hi, we had an idea for a spot we thought would be appropriate for Doritos. It is a little edgy but we think safe enough for the brand to use. We are confident in our writer’s ability to write and our production company to translate that story. Yes, we could have created 5 different edits that went five different ways, but it might have suggested we really didn’t have a distinct/single vision going in, and that’s not how we approach projects. Only if the brand asks us to prepare for different possible endings/versions do we work with them to achieve that. With a contest like Doritos, we feel it important to knock the ball out of the park with a single swing of the bat, without looking like we are flailing away and going after wild pitches better left alone.”

        Keith, sort of like a girl who wants a strong man in a boyfriend/husband, and who doesn’t mind being ‘directed’ as long as they have faith in the ‘man in charge’, the average viewing public (and brands for that matter), tend to like/reward creatives who are bold and don’t try to appease. They like to know you had a definitive plan of attack and followed through with it. Though it might look good on paper, delivering Plan ‘B’, Plan ‘C’ and plan ‘D’ (alongside Plan ‘A’), suggests a creative who isn’t really sure of his goal and one who isn’t steeped enough in the tradition of the brand to confidently produce a focused message.

        In other words. Quit apologizing. The version where the old lady gets tazed is comedy gold. If you had the power to do it, you should ask Doritos to take down the other 5 or 6 versions you have of the spot. They just muddy the waters.

        His Highness

  6. Why didn’t paint fight make it on your top list?

    • Hey Nancy, there are about 50 so submissions I’ve seen that could legitimately beg the same question (some of which never asked for a review by the VCK). I liked ‘Paint Fight’. It was very well done.
      With no time this week for an in depth review, I’ll touch on just a few items and share some quick observations….things that kept it out of my top ten.

      The story is about 20 seconds of content stretched over the :30 format. It’s not power-punched enough for Doritos to spend $100,000.00 per second on. Evidence of this is the rather long pregnant pause of a punchline in the end. It could have been accomplished in half the time and would have been a lot more effective if shortened. Going back to the girl scouts twice didn’t help either. Once again, it was evidence of the story/content being a little lean. The girl dropping the bag was not enough of a ‘difference/twist’ to justify the clip re-visit.

      The fight sequence runs a tad long. The average viewer is pretty educated these days. They probably ‘got it’ the first few seconds as I did. this story is a bit of a tweener. It would have been very difficult to cut this as a :15, but if doable would have been stellar. At :30, it drags a bit.

      Could ‘Paint Fight’ qualify as national quality TV ready content for any brand on any non-Superbowl evening of prime-time?…….easily. It’s that good. But this is the CTSB we are talking about, and it is only my opinion, but this spot is not strong enough to move the Ad Meters sufficient to become a finalist for Doritos.

      I personally would be happy to ad it to my reel had I been the director/writer. Nothing to be ashamed of. Happy Holidays.

      The King

  7. dicky galapabuch

    Video Contest King,
    I have it from a good source who wishes to remain anonymous that the winners will not be notified until next week. Can you refute this or are you an authority because you were a loser 5 years ago?? You say you think you are doing a good thing by dashing dreams and telling contestants they most likely have lost, but if you don’t know for sure, don’t you think its better to let someone dream another day? Especially before Christmas…are you savior or scrooge? And, since you have a commercial in the contest, do you care more about that or readers on your blog?

    And, moreover, I totally disagree (in the most respectful way) with YOUR top 10. Before I continue, I have to say, all of your top 10 were incredlbly WELL DONE! In my opinion though, not the best (for Super Bowl purposes) but still the best of the best.

    In my opinion though, you overlooked these:

    1:Snack Responsibly – Creative, witty, shot well
    2. Eat a Dorito – Can’t stop singing it
    3. My First – So well done
    4. Lets Go – Shot very well, every super bowl guy can relate
    5. Dorito Standoff – not my first choice but friends really like it

    I’ve watched your top 10…most, I don’t get…drunk guys (like those watching the super bowl) don’t like to think…Taze what? I have no idea what even happened there? People acting like birds is just plain weird. Lots of animals, but don’t you thin after Pug Attack, they might move away from animals? You like Dori toes?? Kinda gross… It was very well done but any association with feet and food makes me want to @##$!

    Happy to hear your thoughts. Merry Christmas!!

    • King’s reasoning on why finalists are probably already notified makes sense, but i hope he’s wrong 🙂 I hope your sources info is accurate so i can dream for a few more days.

      • Hey Ryan,
        Every minute spent dreaming in futility is a travesty. It is especially cruel when someone who knows the truth could have shared it and prevented the dreamer from wasting precious emotional resources.

        As a messenger, I’ve died many a cyber-death. I’m ok with that…but dream the good dream, not the futile one.

        His Highness

        • The contest did start late this year, if its true. That is why im assuming it is next week. And if its true, then the finalists will have about 9 days before the 4th to get the contracts out the way right?

          • nancy, Nancy, NANCEEEE!!!!
            It has nothing to do with when the contest ‘started’!!!!!!………. it has EVERYTHING to do with when Doritos will be announcing the finalists and unleashing them on their social media hunt.

            Eh, hem….sorry, I lost it there for a moment.

  8. Hey Dicky, I’ll take a look at the submissions you suggest here. If any of them rate higher than the current top 10, I’ll adjust my leader board accordingly.

    RE: Scrooge
    In the real world, scrooge is the kind of dude who does more favors for humanity than any cheek-kissing-‘not-my-child’-head-patting-false-sense-of-accomplishment mother has ever done for her struggling creative of an offspring.

    In sharing the realistic timeline for announcing finalists, it was my goal to help people move on, and not ‘dwell’ needlessly on a foregone conclusion. If you think Doritos would give it’s finalists only 5 workdays (during peak holiday season), to complete and submit all required paperwork, then you are as delusional as Mr. Robert Cratchit.

    Doritos would take no such chance when the deadline to announce finalists and provide them with time to prepare to embark on a social media campaign whirlwind, happens right after New Years.

    As great as the contest is, the CTSB is not the end all of the contest world. I personally am always grateful when I can find a fore sure ‘drop dead’ date for any contest I enter. It helps me better plan my ever morphing production schedule.

    happy holidays
    the king

  9. All hail The King,
    Sorry not to have found your blog sooner. Depressing to read this, sucks to feel totally passed over but… Hey, I really liked both your entries now that I know who you are and they were both on my top competitors list. God, how did you do the water shots in “You’ll Be the First to Know?” Loved your kid’s reactions. Mice & Men? One of the few really fun, original ideas out there!
    Well, thankful we don’t have to run around hawking everyone we know to vote everyday for the month of January, I was starting to think that would really suck. Our goal was to shoot something cool for our reel whether we made it into this shin dig or not and in the end we’re pretty satisfied. Here’s our entry which we shot in a 20 hour Saturday before the deadline. Jumping several crazy technical and personal hurdles (a team member’s parent was hospitalized the day of the shoot) we managed to upload with a few hours to spare.

    “Good as Gold”
    Starring Lori E. Cunningham, John Sergentakis and Ralph Caputo.
    Directed by Drue Pennella.
    Cinematography, editing, lighting and sound by Drue Pennella & Erik Paulsen.
    Produced by Lori E. Cunningham with Four Legged Features (aka Drue & Erik).

  10. Hey Jared, I recently discovered a few Doritos spots that I hadn’t seen before, see if you think some of these might be contenters if you haven’t seen them already;)



    Disturbance (End is great)

    A day at the zoo

    Imaginary friend (Glich towards end)

  11. Hi, VCK,
    I was shock that DORITOS left out ” MY FRIEND ARCHIE ” is a supper funny ad for the SB. Dog Park, Hot Wild girls,and Man best Friend should not be at the finalist, I believe there is tons of good entries that DORITOS NOT EVEN BOTHER TO WATCH THEM. What was their problems? Once again ” MY FRIEND ARCHIE ” IS STILL MY BEST CHOICE, we are in the new world here. Why DORITOS keep pick out the same formulas over and over again for the finalist. Is either dogs , babies, or birds. ” MY FRIEND ARCHIE ” will be surprise everyone at the SB. What do you think ? Honestly !!!!!!
    Sorry to bother you. Oh, I remember that ” MY FRIEND ARCHIE ” was on your top 10 and top 5 list.
    Thank you !!!!

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