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Interview: Confessions of a 'Crash The Super Bowl' Winner (Pt 2)

Interview: Confessions of A 'Crash The Super Bowl' Winner (Pt 1)

 When is "consumer created" advertising really a showcase for professionals?

Look no further than the Doritos/Pepsi Max "Crash The Super Bowl" contest. When the big game hits February 6, so will numerous news stories about how a handful of everyday consumers showed up Madison Avenue professionals by submitting their own TV commercials for the chance to be shown during the Super Bowl.

There's just one hitch: Few if any of them were created by everyday consumers.

In fact, the winners of this and other so-called consumer-created video contests tend to be semi- or fully-professional filmmakers who could have just as easily been the ones hired by ad agencies to create the spots in the first place.

In the case of "Crash The Super Bowl," (which is run by agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners), past winners like "Live the Flavor" (guy crashes car while eying attractive girl), "Checkout Girl" (cashier and customer raucously bond over Doritos flavors) and "Free Doritos" (co-workers throw a crystal ball into vending machine in order to score some free Doritos, then run into trouble when one of them accidentally throws the ball into their boss's nether regions) all come from near- or full-time professionals - not everyday consumers.

"Live the Flavor" came from Dale Backus and Wes Philips, professional videographers with their own commercial production company. "Checkout Girl" came from Kristin Dehnert, who is an award-winning filmmaker. And Joe and Dave Herbert, the guys behind "Free Doritos," the first "Crash" entrant to win $1 million for topping the annual USA Today Ad Meter, are professional videographers with their own independent film studio, called Transit Films, which offers advertising and animation services, among other things. As a result, their entries look great. They're well shot, well cast and well produced. Doritos' own ad agency couldn't have done better.

As I recently told National Public Radio, "It's ironic, because the people who actually end up winning these things are the people who could probably build careers in advertising, if they aren't already." 

That's not to say the winners have done anything wrong, or that the spots aren't grassroots efforts - last year's "Underdog," from Joshua Svoboda, who just happened to be, yes, a creative director at a production company called 5 Point Productions, reportedly cost only $200 to shoot. It's just that the money spent is spent by someone who is arguably a pro, not just some Schmo shooting a spot in the backyard.

And I don't really blame the brands for failing to clear up the confusion - they open up these contests to all comers, voting is open to all comers as well, and it stands to reason that the really good entries will win.

But as I talk about in my new book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, maybe it's time the news media stop framing these promotions as if the mean a ticket to the big time for anyone with a Handicam and Hollywood dreams.

In audio segments from a source interview for the book recorded right after their big win, I interview Joe and Dave Herbert - the guys behind "Free Doritos" - about what it took to make their winning spot (they're great guys, and it's a fun story about aspiring, and making it, to the Super Bowl).

In part two, which I'll post tomorrow, we'll hear their own perspectives on the truth about just how consumer-created, "consumer-created" really is.







OD_cover "... Excellent  ..."

 “Through persuasive arguments and q&a’s with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas.” – Publishers Weekly











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