Last year I entered the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Contest with the hopes of seeing my Doritos commercial air during the Super Bowl. I wrote 10 commercials and decided to film the “One Tough Grandma” commercial.
Before I talk about how to make a Doritos commercial, it’s important to remember the purpose of your Doritos commercial is to sell Doritos. So you want to start out by conceptualizing a fun idea that people want to watch over and over.
In my situation, I decided to create a Doritos commercial centered on a sweet elderly women (played by the talented Kathy Breeden) who happens to love Doritos.
In the scene, she is out for a walk all by herself. Then she gets robbed. The thief doesn’t get any money. He takes her prized cool ranch Doritos. But what this criminal doesn’t realize is the the little old lady is much tougher than she looks.
We made this Doritos commercial for only a few hundred dollars. And it wasn’t easy.
For example, on the day of the shoot, we showed up and were shocked to find out that the electrical outlets were not working. Because we couldn’t utilize our lights, we made a very large reflector by taking 2 Silver military blankets and taped them together with silver tape. Then we ended up shooting the entire commercial with only available lighting.
Once posted online we went from last place all the way to 2nd with in just a couple days. Because the reaction was positive, I decided to do another commercial titled One tough grandma Part 2 . This time around grandma finds herself in jail, for the assault on the thief. In this commercial the rough and tough inmates take grandma’s Doritos out of the evidence bag.
Big mistake guys.
The guard in charge leaves to get more coffee and donuts. When he gets back he sees that all the rough and tough inmates are crying like babies. Meanwhile, Grandma enjoys her delicious Doritos.
For One tough grandma Part 2, we built the entire set over 13 days inside a old warehouse in downtown Kansas City. The set is made mostly out of PVC tubing, foam and wood. The ceiling was covered in cardboard. Once built, we gave the set a paint job to make it look even more realistic. It was so much fun trying to figure out how to make the walls look like concrete and brick.
The location was anything but ideal.
The roof leaked and the power kept going out. There was no heat. And unlike Part 1, this commercial cost me almost $4,000 to build the set and feed the cast and crew. But it paid off. I built a set that looked like a real jail. I could not be more proud of everyone involved in the shoot.
Both of these commercials were shot on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, ProRes. We also used a 25 foot dolly track that I built.
How To Make a Doritos Commercial In Your Hometown
1. Pick An Awesome Idea: You need to come up with several ideas. Think of fresh ways to make the audience laugh, cry or be shocked. Grab a notepad. Then brainstorm for ideas that you love, as well as ideas you don’t love. Then check with your friends, or fellow filmmakers to see if any of your ideas resonate. From this feedback, narrow your best ideas into a select few. Once you have your top idea, make that script a reality.
2. Put People in Your Commercial: Actors are responsible for taking your written script and making it come to life. Make sure the actors you choose can project the message. You can have a great script, but if the actor doesn’t fit the part, than the audience wont be interested the the commercial.
3. Write a Killer Script: You have very limited time to capture the audience. So make sure what you are writing is the best you can do. And unlike other short films, always remember your commercial must carry a message and sell a product.
4. Plan Your Video: You need to plan every detail for your commercial. Every second counts when you only have a few. My suggestion is to storyboard out your shots completely. Then utilize your editing software cut the footage to the desired length. Add actors voices and music and see how it plays. If it is not what you want, keep refining until it perfect.
5. Audio and Video Must Sync: This should go without saying. But if your commercial has audio, make sure you have someone on set who knows how to properly record audio. You can have a bad looking film, but if you have great audio than the audience will not care. But if you have great 4K footage and bad audio, no one will want to watch your commercial. Audio is the most important part of any commercial, film, etc.
Make Another Doritos Commercial
One you do this, you will want to repeat the process. This year I decided to make two more Doritos commercials and enter the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest one last time (Okay, I might make another commercial again next year too.). The titles of these commercials are “VERY Bad Criminal” and “Doritos Hot Bag”.
This time around I kept the commercials very simple. I did not build any sets. With the commercial concepts I came up with, I wanted the viewers to laugh out loud, or have their jaws drop. As I mentioned before, the goal of a Doritos commercial is to entertain the audience and sell Doritos.
I filmed both Doritos commercials for less than $150. To make this happen, I had to call in a lot of favors. The talent is some of the best in Kansas City. Everyone involved worked for free, everyone gave their best on these commercials. Because of their dedication to making the best possible commercials, social sharing has put our work in front of a lot of people.
In this instance, both commercials were shot on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, with Rokinon Cinema Lenses. They were shot RAW.
Kyle Kelley is an independent filmmaker based in Kansas City. You can see more of his work at his site, Burned Films.