Doritos Finalists Selection: Debunking the Conspiracy theorists

Every year, a large amount of disgruntled creatives and/or their friends, girlfriends, associated talent, mothers, hairdressers, bloggers, give their two cents on just how badly Doritos ran the newest edition of the CTSB contest.

And every year the assertions are pretty irrelevant to the how and why that goes into Doritos choosing finalists. Some arguments defend unselected submissions because they are legitimately superior in a PV sense to all other entrants EG: DORITO TRIANGLE. Even in my NTBHO some spots seem funnier than the five finalists du jour, EG: THE DORITOS PROPOSAL, or TAZE THE FLAVOR. I am also aware however that credible debate on the strength of even these three spots could be made, yet I stand by them unapologetically. You see, none of us is the lone arbitor of what is funny, professional looking, well produced, etc. etc. And none of us has the right to tell Doritos what is most appropriate to their brand. I’d like that to set in. It’s like telling a bride what kind/style of dress she’s going to have to wear on her wedding day……..not gonna happen.

Here are the cold, hard to swallow facts.
1. In 2007 Doritos scores 5th place in the USA Today Ad Meter (USATAM).
2. In 2008 Doritos scores 4th place in the USATAM. (And they weren’t even running the contest. They simply ran a spot from the previous year that market tested well).
3. In 2009 Doritos scores 1st and 5th place in the USATAM.
4. In 2010 Doritos scores 2nd place in the USATAM.
5. In 2011 Doritos scores 1st, 4th and 5th in the USATAM.

In five years Doritos has been in the top five of the USA Today Ad Meter Poll, 8 times (EIGHT TIMES!!!). Does any of my fellow peers understand how ridiculously difficulty it is to do something line this? This is unheard of in the world of advertising. In those five years there are only 25 spots to be won in the USATAM and against the best ad AGencies and creatives the world can produce, Doritos (a single brand) took 8/25. Please, please let that sink in.

USA Today uses a sample of people (about 300 individuals) that represent the average viewing public during the Superbowl. Doritos does well with this smattering of sweaty palm joystick/dial holding joe-shmos. These shmos may not be as artsy-minded as you and I. They may not understand the difference between a scrim and a baffle where PVs are concerned, but they represent the masses. Sorry if this makes you lose any faith with the average human being, and their ability to judge quality as compared to your own, but the type of content doritos chooses annually scores in a HUMONGOUS way, every single year. Frankly that you, I or anyone else thinks we know how better to choose finalists is a little haughty.

Any person or ‘blog’ (VCN ) who thinks Doritos is selecting spots because of past relationships with it’s creators is on it’s face, foolish. As a regular contributor to the blog here in the kingdom, Matt Pulliam puts it this way:

That Doritos would select the ads that rank highest in
test instead of selecting past finalists. Doritos
goal is to make
#1, #2, and #3 on the SuperBowl ad meter.
We all know that
everyone has a different opinion on which
entries were the
funniest, so ad meter marketing tests are the
best way to determine the finalists (what ad exec would want
to risk  his/her job on picking a potential dud without analytical
proof of success). If the test audience favored past finalist,
then it’s only because they make funny, like-able
memorable spots. It’s not easy!!

Anyone who rationalizes that Doritos chooses finalists based on ‘favoritism’ probably shouldn’t be in our line of work. It is the kind of reasoning that taints everything else we do in life, including our own content creation. Stop it with the conspiracy theories people and instead focus that negative energy in improving yourselves against the ever-incresing wave of talent that continues to join our freelance force in the advertising world. It’s going to get increasingly more and more competitive as we (freelance creatives) become relevant in our industry.

One more note on why Doritos has such a slick, smooth, efficient and highly successful model that they will probably run again and again and again until they either lose interest or something more effective replaces it:
Doritos is so successful with the CTSB because they advertise….in a myriad of ways through the contest. The 30,000 bags of Doritos that get purchased that run through the checkout line and the resultant conversations, the family and friends who see/consume the sudden increase in Doritos around the house. The cast and crew that eats them all day long as they are everywhere on the set, the individual campaigns that last for a month with these creatives spamming everyone they ever knew on their own email address book, and as many friends as will allow them access to additional address books.

Doritos can’t legally spam anyone concerning their product/brand/business, but there’s nothing illegal about having the five finalists (or 6,000 submittors) do it for them….

And as far as the submissions/content is concerned: Does anyone realize how many ad agencies or production companies would have to be hired by Doritos to produce as much content and/or to give them the same options that the CTSB provides? And to then be able to test and choose only the most appropriate submissions for broadcast, summarily discarding the rest without obligation to compensate any of the creatives? And what is so awesome about the whole exercise, is that we all knowingly give it all to Doritos…for free. We as freelancers agree to all of this. It’s brilliant. If this pisses you off, too bad. Because before the Crash The Superbowl contest came on the scene we had pretty close to ‘0’ direct access to any brands. You can thank Doritos for being a catalyst for changing the advertising model in a HUGE way, where video/commercial content is concerned.

The King


11 responses to “Doritos Finalists Selection: Debunking the Conspiracy theorists

  1. You know what they say about opinions… There’s a reason why the Doritos’ marketing team is in the position they’re in. Well written blog King. It’s getting increasingly difficult (or ‘competitive’) to win CTSB but like you said, this contest has blazed the trails for other (albeit less prestigious and lucrative) contests. That is a great news for independent producers. They had little to no chance in years past. Finally, congrats to all the contestants. Even if you didn’t win CTSB, you’re probably building one heck of a demo reel.

  2. One of the entries that rated middle of the pack in your rating system has gone viral!
    Almost 1 million views in a few days.

  3. By comparison, the five finalist combined have gotten about 60-70k views in the same time period. …Oh the chipmanity!

    • That’s a wee bit of contest justice. Nice. Good for him. I just hope it ends up being as good for him as it is for the brand every time the commercial is watched. Doritos may have payed for promotion on this one.

  4. I’ve been toiling away King. Yeah, you do have a pretty nice reel and it’s helped you maintain your domain. Now I have to check out the viral video Matt referenced. Happy New Year to all.

  5. Just checked out the viral video. A friend on Facebook posted it the other day. I’m glad to see it doing well. I agree – Doritos should pay the creator because that ad is getting results for the brand, regardless of it’s placing in the contest.

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