The winner and runner-upÂ of a submit-your-own-ad contest by Doritos, both of which aired on the Super Bowl.Â The first spot, “Live The Flavor” by Dale Backus and Wes Phillips has a driving, Doritos-munching guy starstruck by a woman who is also eating a big bag of Doritos.Â With an Aria from ‘La Traviata’ playing in the background, the man and woman make eye contact, causing the man to wreck his car and the woman to fall on her face.Â The words “Spicy, Cheesy, Crunchy, Bold and Smooth” are interjected to descibe the both the Doritos and the action.
The second spot, “Checkout Girl” by Kristen Dehnert has a man purchasing groceries at a supermarket. As she scans a bag of Doritos she says, “I like these – nacho cheese – old school.”Â After scanning the next bag she says, “Fiery Habanero – YEAH – those are HOT!” becoming much more animated.Â Then “Oh – Salsa Verrrrrde,” and she purs at the guy who purs back.Â “Blazin’ Buffalo and Ranch?Â Giddy-up!” Then we see a bag of Doritos exploding against a black background and the www.snackstrong.com URL.Â The spot ends with the woman, hair disheveled rising up to her intercom mike and saying, “I’m going to need a cleanup on register 6.
Bob Garfield’s negative take on these spots aside, these spots are remarkable for both strategy and execution.Â Both are on-strategy for the Doritos brand whose brand character is bold and unconventional and whose brand strategy is to be an enabler of social connections.Â Both are also extremely well produced, with good pacing, engaging storylines and good visuals.
What is extraordinary about these spots is that they were both produced by amateurs rather than advertising agencies.Â While marketers can argue whether these spots were the most effective of the Super Bowl, nobody will argue that they certainly were not the worst spots of the Super Bowl (this advertising blog would put them in the top 10) – and that in itself is remarkable.Â This Super Bowl represents a distinct step forward for consumer-generated media where the best consumer efforts are very hard to distinguish from professional efforts.
Consumer-generated media is a tricky proposition and we would not advise brands to begin handing the keys to the media plan over to consumer wily-nily.Â And we also can see that the creeping professionalism of the consumer-generated spots can make these more like visual resumes for aspiring filmmakers than spontaneous engagement from he brand faithful.Â But they have several advantages over traditional agency advertising.Â They are less expensive to produce, they follow creative lines that agencies would often not venture down and they have ancillary benefits like PR exposure and a sweepstakes effect.
Viewed purely as professional advertising, both of these spots would be good but not great.Â It seems possible that people outside the advertising community could create effective ads that are vastly different from traditional advertising – the same way a blog is different in tone and substance from a print news column.Â The problem here could be in the judging process.Â Did Doritos allow itself to be open to truly revolutionary work?Â As we only saw the finalists for this competition we cannot say.Â Certainly most brands want to save themselves from a Chevy Tahoe fiasco, but more openness might be better in spite of the risk to the brand.Â Doritos might have played it a bit too safe.
Branding Bottom Line:
A zesty effort from Doritos has us craving more.