While Doritos has been around since the 1960s, the brand has gotten even bolder recently, not only with flavor offerings, but also with its marketing efforts. For the last several years, Doritos has run its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, an online commercial competition in which fans are invited to create their own Doritos Super Bowl ads.
In 2014 my commercial “Time Machine,” was lucky enough to win.
The Winning Formula
In “Time Machine,” a small child outsmarts a grown man in a clever scheme to procure the man’s bag of Doritos. The man agrees to take a ride in the child’s homemade cardboard box time machine, which runs on Doritos, and in the end the man thinks the time machine has worked.
This was my fourth attempt at the Doritos Super Bowl contest, and every year we would get positive feedback. I kept studying the formula for what makes a great spot, and what types of spots win. I got the idea for time machine, and after a lot of planning, I decided I needed to go for it full force.
A Recipe For Doritos Super Bowl Commercial Success
Surround yourself with good people and utilize reliable technology. My Doritos Super Bowl commercial was produced by Andersen Crine Productions. We shot the ad at my parents’ home in Arizona. I used a Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and shot the ad in 2.5K RAW with color correction done in DaVinci Resolve.
I chose the Blackmagic Cinema Camera because it looks like film. It gives off such an incredibly organic look, and I love that I can get a look that is not over produced straight out of the camera. Personally, this camera is a true appendage to my creative body and my vision. It complements my style, and I relied on it and used it 100 percent to my advantage.
After shooting all of the footage in RAW, I converted it to a ProRes Proxy, and then when the edit was locked, I imported the XML files into DaVinci Resolve for color grading.
I went with a simple, light grade as I wanted it to be as natural looking as possible. The camera helped me pull back a lot of highlights because I shot in RAW. I don’t have a lot of professional gear, so I was working with minimal equipment, and the camera allowed me to get the image I needed.
In post, DaVinci Resolve helped me really dial in my color, blacks and highlights, which is a bit more difficult to do when using other color correction software. Following the color grade, I exported everything out to ProRes 4444 2400×1350, which was later compressed to a standard 1920×1080 resolution for airing.
It’s these factors that helped me win that I also think are very important when it comes to successful filmmaking. First, don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed the first time. Listen to feedback and learn from it. Also do your research and learn from what has been successful in the past, but be creative and put your own spin on it. Then plan, plan, plan. If you’re going to do your own Doritos Super Bowl commercial, go for it all the way and make sure the end product is something you are proud of.
Ryan Thomas Andersen is a single dad who works as a freelance commercial director to pay the bills. He teamed up with his 6-year-old son Gavin for the Doritos CrashTheSuperbowl Contest and produced the winning commercial, “TIME MACHINE”. Ryan is now developing his first feature film.