User-generated Super Bowl Ads

User-generated Super Bowl Ads

By Around Town 3 Comments    February 2, 2009

I admit it — I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. I’m not a football fan, but I’ve loved the clever 30 second stories that appear during commercial breaks since I was a kid. The quick wit and humor is what attracted me to pursuing a career in advertising and design.

This year, Doritos has once again embraced the talent of its consumers. The user-generated media contest ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ challenged US residents to come up with their own 30 second commercial for the brand. The top 5 finalists each received $25,000 and the winner was determined by online voters then aired during the Super Bowl. If the winning ad got the top spot on the USA TODAY Ad Meter they then received an additional $1,000,000. This year’s winner was Joe Herbert for his “Free Doritos!” entry. A close second was “Power of the Crunch”, which also aired during the Super Bowl. “New Flavor Pitch” was one of my favorites, but didn’t seem to make the cut (Note: a reader commented that the ad did air during the pre-game show).

User-generated media has been around for a while but has accelerated with the availability of software tools (Final Cut Pro), affordable digital filmmaking equipment (Panasonic AG-DVX 100), and online communities (SF Cutters). The film ‘Snakes on a Plane’ created buzz by allowing users to contribute to the script, Modest Mouse invited fans to create their music video for ‘Missed the Boat’ (I submitted an entry — a great experience), and Silverado Systems along with Vuze created a video editing contest called OpenCut, which eventually ended up as a Guiness World Record for the most people involved in editing one film (another great experience).

The participants in these contests range from high school students to professionals. Some ad executives have reacted negatively to user-generated media, but I think it shows that good ideas can come from anyone. It’s in the execution that a story can fall short of its potential. Casting, writing, post-production — I have yet to see a user-generated piece that meets the level of quality that comes from a team of branding professionals.

Doritos 'Crash the Super Bowl' finalists

Doritos 'Crash the Super Bowl' finalists

Doritos ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ contest website

Interview with “Free Doritos!” winner Joe Herbert (2007)

Super Bowl XLIII commercials on Hulu

Author Oya Voices

More posts by Oya Voices

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Thanks for the OpenCut props!

    Torrey Loomis
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  • fats says:

    they aired DORITOS BEER in the pregame show
    FRONT PAGE FILMS made that one

  • Kim says:

    I enjoyed the game and the commercials. On the Careerbuilder commercial, there must have been some behaviorial theory on the reason they made this commercial – if I had the opportunity, I would have turned the TV off (or changed the channel at a minimum). Super Bowl Ads are usually what many viewers look forward to watching with the game. I think the Jack-in-the-Box commercial was one of my favorites… and the marketing goes on…

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