Doritos Surprises Super Bowl Audience By Airing Two User-Generated Ads Now Contending For $1 Million Prize

February 1, 2009

Top-Voted "Free Doritos" and Finalist "Power of the Crunch" Kick-Off National Doritos Television Campaign Featuring All Five “Crash the Super Bowl” Finalist Ads


PLANO, Texas — The Doritos brand put two of its talented fans in the limelight tonight when it surprised a worldwide audience by airing two consumer-created Doritos commercials during the Super Bowl XLIII broadcast – “Free Doritos” and “Power of the Crunch.”  Nationwide consumer votes from this year’s Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” program named “Free Doritos” the contest winner, landing prime placement during the first quarter of The Big Game.  “Free Doritos” creator Joe Herbert of Batesville, Ind., who was a finalist in the annual program just two years ago, has long-awaited the day one of his hilarious Doritos commercials would become the fan favorite.  That day is here, and there may still be more glory to come. 

Now, Joe Herbert has his eye on one more prize.  Each of the five finalists will receive a $25,000 prize, however, Doritos raised the contest stakes this year by putting up a $1 million bonus prize if a fan-made Doritos ad aired during the Super Bowl takes the top spot in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter, beating the pros.  In addition to Herbert’s commercial, the Doritos brand unexpectedly chose to also air runner-up “Power of the Crunch,” created by Eric Heimbold of Venice, Calif. during the Super Bowl broadcast as a result of overwhelming enthusiasm and feedback from fans across the country.  Both ads are now vying for the top Ad Meter spot, to be revealed in tomorrow’s edition of USA TODAY.

“For the last two years, our fans have proven they have the creativity and talent to match up against the best in the advertising business,” said Ann Mukherjee, group vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay.  “This year we decided to truly raise the stakes by offering a $1 million bonus if they could actually beat the pros.”

The brand also announced that it will continue to shine the spotlight on each of its five finalists and their budding careers beyond the Super Bowl by airing all five finalist commercials as its 2009 television advertising campaign.  In addition to “Free Doritos” and “Power of the Crunch,” the other finalists’ ads – “New Flavor Pitch,” “The Chase” and “Too Delicious” will be at the center of Doritos’ new campaign. 

“We are so incredibly proud of all five finalists, we just couldn’t stop at the Super Bowl spotlight and had to take it a step further,” Mukherjee added.  “Doritos is their biggest fan and we’ll be rooting for each and every one of our finalists, watching their careers continue to thrive for years to come.”  

“Free Doritos” and “Power of the Crunch” were two of the five top ads selected by the Doritos brand from nearly 2,000 submissions, and voted on by consumers for the chance to air during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast.  Thousands of fans voted at http://www.snackstrongproductions.com/ between Jan. 5 and Jan. 25 to determine the winner. 

“Just being back as a finalist, I feel extremely proud to have a second shot at what should be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” explained “Free Doritos” creator Joe Herbert.  “Words can't describe the sense of validation we feel from earning a second opportunity with a Doritos Super Bowl commercial that we hope gave millions of people the kind of laughter that makes life worth living.”

Joe and his co-creator and brother Dave Herbert returned to meet the newly raised stakes of the third annual Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl.”  From shattering a vending machine full of Doritos with a snow globe to throwing the “crystal ball” at the Boss, the inspiration for their commercial is based on ideas the brothers felt would evoke laughter and emotion from the audience at different points of the commercial. 

Eric Heimbold, a graduate of the film department at Pasadena Art Center College of Design, was hoping to challenge himself as a film-maker when he rallied old friends from school to create a Doritos ad that told a sexy, Super Bowl-worthy story.  “Power of the Crunch” is a comedic take on the idea that people are corrupted by ultimate power.  In less than 30 seconds, his main character spirals through a series of extreme indulgences and ultimately self-destructs.  For Eric, this was a great opportunity for him to do something that is of meaning to him personally and appreciated in a well-structured public forum.

“This entire experience has been a dream come true,” exclaimed Heimbold.  “There has been so much excitement leading up to this moment, and seeing the spot that I made with my friends air during the Super Bowl, side-by-side with the best pros in the world, it’s just knee-buckling!  I am thrilled and honored to see my spot on this big stage.”

The USA TODAY Super Bowl Ad Meter tracks the second-by-second responses of a panel of viewers to ads during the national broadcast of the Super Bowl and ranks them favorite to least favorite.  Created in 1989, USA TODAY’s Ad Meter has been regarded as the most influential Super Bowl ad rating in the advertising industry.

The “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign is the evolution of the Doritos brand allowing consumers to be in control.  In 2007, the Doritos brand aired its first consumer-created commercial during Super Bowl XLI, as part of the first Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" challenge.  That same day, the brand aired a second commercial to kick-off the first-ever consumer-created Doritos brand television ad campaign, in which all five of the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” finalists’ ads aired on national television.  Last year, Doritos launched the music career of one of its talented fans by airing her original song in a music video during its Super Bowl XLII air time as part of its second annual "Crash the Super Bowl" program.

In addition to the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge, in 2007 the brand put consumers in control with programs such as Doritos "Fight for the Flavor,” which invited Doritos fans to determine which of two new flavors survived on store shelves and which one was pulled.  Then, the brand launched the Doritos “X-13D Flavor Experiment,” where consumers had a chance to name a new mysterious flavor of Doritos tortilla chips, followed by “Unlock Xbox,” which empowered fans to design the first-ever consumer-created Xbox LIVE® Arcade game. 

In 2008, “THE QUEST” campaign gave Doritos lovers a unique opportunity to choose how and when to get engaged in a multi-faceted program that had online and real world challenges.  Fans were in control of how they participated in “THE QUEST” in everything from guessing a mystery flavor to solving virtual puzzles and competing in real-life adventures.  In addition, Doritos put control into the hands of its consumers through a programming partnership with MTV. 

Frito-Lay North America is the $11 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo, which is headquartered in Purchase, NY.  In addition to Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and Tropicana.