Creating a Super Bowl commercial seems rather easy: you just come up with a clever joke and get a video camera to shoot the commercial. How hard is that?
Doritos has decisively answered this question for us this year. The Doritos marketing team is once again involving consumers in their Super Bowl marketing program. Last year Doritos invited people to submit music videos. Taking it one step further this year, the Doritos’ brand has invited consumers to submit their own commercials.
The Doritos’ contest has two parts. First, the Doritos’ team selects the top five spots created and submitted by entrants. Second, consumers vote online for the best entries. The ad with the most votes then runs during the Super Bowl. In an interesting kicker, the Doritos’ team said that if the ad goes on to win the USA Today advertising poll, the creator would receive $1 million.
So if it were easy to create a great Super Bowl commercial, it should be apparent: the contest submissions should be entertaining, likeable, attention-grabbing and well-branded. The spots should consistently deliver a message about the brand.
The reality: The spots are generally terrible. There are currently 1,961 submissions posted on the contest website. Most of these are fundamentally flawed: the branding is weak, the product benefit isn’t clearly conveyed, or the spots simply aren’t attention-grabbing and likeable (or, in all too many cases, all three).
You can see all of the submissions, and vote for your favorite by visiting this site:
I’m certain the people who submitted spots tried very hard, and spent a lot of time, money and energy. The fact that so many are so bad simply highlights the fact that this is all easier said than done.
Creating a great Super Bowl spot is a huge creative challenge. That is why it is such a joy to see spots that really work. This is also why we should be gentle on the advertisers that don’t quite nail it.
This is all far harder than it looks.