Doritos Fan Trumps Advertising Professionals And Wins $1 Million Super Bowl Advertising Challenge

February 2, 2009

First-Ever Consumer-Created Ad Takes No. 1 Spot in USA TODAY’s Annual Super Bowl Ad Meter


PLANO, Texas — The Doritos brand today announced that its consumer-created Doritos commercial “Free Doritos,” which aired for the first time nationally during yesterday’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast,  ranked No. 1 in USA TODAY’s annual Super Bowl Ad Meter.  The tortilla chip brand is now giving Joe Herbert, the ad’s talented creator, a $1 million payout for claiming the coveted title many ad pros strive to attain each year.   

Nationwide consumer votes put “Free Doritos” in the Super Bowl limelight from amongst nearly 2,000 entries and five finalist ads in the third annual Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” program.  Now, too, in the Super Bowl spotlight is finalist Eric Heimbold.  Doritos surprised viewers by also airing his commercial “Power of Crunch,” which placed No. 5 in the USA TODAY ad meter.

“We've said it before and we'll say it again, Doritos goes big or goes home,” said Ann Mukherjee, group vice president, marketing, Doritos.  “We knew Joe could take on the pros and now he has the financial resources to pursue his dreams.  We are extremely proud of Joe’s accomplishment and believe this is the best million dollars the Doritos brand has ever spent.”

The brand also announced that it will continue to give control of its broadcast advertising air time to its fans.  Doritos will also air all five finalist commercials as its national Doritos TV campaign to continue to shine the spotlight on their makers and their budding careers.  In addition to “Free Doritos,” the other finalists’ ads that will be at the center of Doritos’ TV advertising campaign are: “Power of the Crunch,” “The Chase,” “Too Delicious,” and “New Flavor Pitch.”

“We believe in our fans and will continue to provide them with opportunities to be discovered and live out their dreams,” adds Mukherjee.  “Doritos feels, as a brand, it should break the rules for it fans so they can make the impossible become possible.”

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. 

“To have ‘Free Doritos’ exposed on the Super Bowl stage was already amazing enough,” exclaimed Herbert.  “But, to now claim No. 1 on the USA TODAY Ad Meter and win $1 million is unbelievable and affirmation that we can and will fulfill our dreams.  This means so much to my brother and I.  We are very thankful to Doritos, our friends, our family and everyone else who supported us and believed in us.”

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.

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.

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.