We wrote about Dorito's upcoming Crash The Super Bowl contest for user-generated commercials back in October, letting you know about the competition and how you might be able to enter your own commercial creation for a chance to win.
Doritos has now whittled the entry videos down to the top six, and is seeking your votes to help them choose the winner.
You can see each of the six proposed commercials and vote for your favorite here.
What's most surprising to me about the finalist videos are the production values. Not one of them looks homemade, which speaks either to the abilities of the finalists or the widespread affordable access to high-end video equipment—or both. The most expensive ad in the finals was created for $3,000, and the cheapest for $80. Yes… $80.
But are they funny?
Well, there's no accounting for taste, and what's funny to me might be boring to you. However, with that being said, yes… they are funny. No less funny than your average Super Bowl commercial, at least.
The best of the bunch, in my mind, is the one called House Rules, which features a little boy meeting his mom's new boyfriend—he's protective of his mother, but even more protective of his Doritos. Take a look:
See, that's kind of funny. It's unexpected to see the boy slap the boyfriend and speak to him in such a dominant tone. The element of surprise works very well here. Having a cute kid doesn't hurt either.
I also got a chuckle out of the spot called Snack Attach Samurai—again because of the element of surprise when the "weapon" hits the Dorito thief's neck. Check it out:
I'm curious about the level of violence—five of the six commercials make violence the central theme of their gag, including slaps, punches, a taser, and a shock collar. Interesting. There's no way to tell if that's a reflection of the overall tone of submitted commercials or an indication of what Doritos was looking for, but it's interesting to note nonetheless.
For years now we've been told that "this is the year that user-generated videos take over the Super Bowl.” Will this be the year?
And what is it about user-generated video that keeps Doritos coming back to it (this is the third or fourth year in a row they've held some sort of user-generated-content contest)? It could be as simple as the money. We like to read and write articles about the ridiculous expense of airing a commercial on the Super Bowl (just shy of $3 Million for a 30-second spot this year), but there's an awful lot of expense in conceiving, writing, filming, and producing a commercial as well. Here, with a competition like this one, Doritos saves themselves a ton on development costs.
But there also has to be something else motivating Doritos. Maybe they feel like allowing users to compete breeds some sort of subconscious allegiance to the brand? Or maybe they like being known as the company that believes in their customers' creative abilities? Perhaps they just enjoy all the extra press they get throughout the duration of the contest?
The Super Bowl is the biggest annual event for online video, in my mind. You'll find no shortage of sites after the game to watch and re-watch all your favorite commercials—giving those brands extended life for their spots. Many of the commercials will end up in the year-end list of most-viewed viral spots. Putting the creation of the spots themselves in the hands of viewers adds another layer of online video involvement into the process.
While I doubt any of these commercials will end up actually crashing the Super Bowl, it's got to be viewed by those of us in the online video space as a positive trend. We'll probably never replace the advertising agencies that traditionally create commercials for major brands, but it's pretty clear that there are an awful lot of talented nobodies out there with original ideas and the means to craft an inexpensive ad. That's got to be a good sign for the future of online video, right?