'Underdog' wins Super Bowl glory for Triangle ad company

Posted February 8, 2010

— The canine star of the 30-second "Underdog" ad by a Raleigh company didn't just get a bag of Doritos. She also won Super Bowl viewers' hearts and $650,000 in prize money.

"Underdog," featuring a man outsmarted by a dog for bag of Doritos, won a national ad competition for Frito-Lay.

'Underdog' ad producer celebrates win 'Underdog' ad producer celebrates win

The ad's makers, though, didn't know it had won until they saw it aired during the first quarter of the Super Bowl.

"We were so jumpy, and when it aired, we blew up out of our seats," the ad's human star, Bill Oliver said.

"It is a blur, 10 seconds of my life I don't remember what happened," said Josh Svoboda, who produced the ad for 5 Point Productions in Raleigh.

Svoboda  and 5 Point Productions colleagues Wes Phillips and Nick Dimondi got even better news Monday morning: "Underdog" won second place in the USA Today Ad Meter, which tracks how a panel of viewers responds to ads.

“There is nothing that can really describe the feeling. We knew that the ad had the most star power,” said Phillips, who watched the ad on television during a Super Bowl party at the Corner Stone Apartments in Cary.

Actor talks about 'Underdog' ad Actor talks about 'Underdog' ad

"Underdog" brought home $50,000 for the Frito-Lay ad competition and $600,000 for the second-place ranking in the USA Today Ad Meter.

The ad cost about $400 to make – "mostly for food and some treats for the dog," Svoboda said. It was filmed over three days in Cary's Bond Park.

Svoboda said he got the idea for the ad while hanging out in a friend's basement and watching his dog who had an anti-bark collar on.

"The idea kind of sprang from there, and we knew that we had an adorable puppy we could use," he said.

Oliver said that puppy, named Rosie, helped him make a realistic bark. "I had a good acting partner in Rose. She really inspired me with her terrifying bark," he said.

Svoboda said that film might be in the future for 5 Point Productions, which also had a second ad among the six finalists for the Frito-Lay competition and won that contest in 2007.

"The guys really have their pulse on what America wants to see, what people love to see," Oliver said.

Oliver said he hopes the ad's success leads to more opportunities for him, in front and behind cameras.

And for Rosie?

"Hopefully, Rosie will get some Doritos out of it," Oliver said.

'Underdog' ad


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  • discowhale Feb 9, 2010

    I liked that ad, plenty memorable and the dog barking the second time and walking away with the chips sold it!! And I understand how these folks get kudos from the ad community, but HOW is this a big deal for the Triangle?

    Do you really suppose the people elsewhere care, or know, that the thing was produced here? C'mon, do any of you know where the rest of the ads were produced? And how does anyone not associated with the commercial derive connection, or importance? Maybe the next time we travel we can all tell people traveling around us,
    "...I'm from the Triangle, the place where they shot that 'dog barking, Doritos commercial'...yep, that's where I'M FROM alright..."
    This is the same as HS dropouts saying of UNC, Duke or NCSU, " schools team...". It's a stretch, at best to draw that affiliation. Here's a hint, that big brick house, with the two car garage and the boat, up on the corner, isn't "...your house...", because you regularly drive by it either.

  • ThinkChick Feb 8, 2010

    Raptor06 et al:

    $133 million more of our dollars are going to print ads too.

    Who needs a grip?

  • Raptor06 Feb 8, 2010

    "Did you all like the $2.5 million dollar taxpayer funded senseless Census commercial?! Personally I want my money back."

    Get a grip. Do you REALLY think the government paid to have that ad broadcasted? Ever heard of a Public Service announcement?

    Great Underdog commercial. Just goes to show that great things come from NC! I'm proud of our home talent.

  • Deacons Feb 8, 2010

    I thought it was, without question, the best ad. Should have won first place.

  • krazykristie06 Feb 8, 2010


    Yall are Crazy! I'm sure this dog was not used to wearing one of those collars b/c if he was used to it...he woulnd't even bark with the thing off!! This was obviously a trained dog to bark when it hears that wistle or whatever thing they use.

    Anywho, this comercial was funny to me. But my favorite was the one where the little boy slaps his mom's boyfriend. LoL

  • ThinkChick Feb 8, 2010

    Congrats to local talent. The Betty White commercial was great and the asteroid Bud Light commercial had funny moments.

    Did you all like the $2.5 million dollar taxpayer funded senseless Census commercial?! Personally I want my money back.

  • 6079 SMITH W Feb 8, 2010

    That dog! Its "Brian" from "Family Guy"!

  • time4real Feb 8, 2010

    poor Peyton, "rub some dirt on it"!

  • godshelper Feb 8, 2010

    We had the chance to watch this at the fire station when we were all on duty last night and we all laughed so hard. This was a great commerical. This is to anyone who thought that it was cruel to try and get the dog to bark.......get a life.

  • Desiderata Feb 8, 2010

    Didn't watch game (couldn;t get it with "DISH NETWORK") but this was cute..Not much thought went into it though..boring really...