Cary, N.C. — Another Super Bowl means another slate of highly-anticipated, highly-produced commercials for huge international brands. And each year, Doritos opens that playing field to amateurs through the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest. The company picks two ads from a pool of thousands of submissions and pays for them to run during the big game.
While that grand prize carries no explicit monetary value, the winners can earn up to $1 million if their commercial resonates with voters in the USA Today Ad Meter on the day after the game.
Nick Dimondi knows well the benefits of being a Doritos pick. He and three friends made the cut twice and continue to see the fruits of their labors.
Dimondi works with his friends Dale Backus and Wes and Barrett Phillips at Small HD in Cary. In 2007, they turned a $15 budget into a $10,000 win and a trip to the Super Bowl with a spot emphasizing the crunchy and cheesy nature of the snack chips.
"It was crazy, just crazy, but we had fun doing it," Dimondi said Friday. "We thought, 'Well, we gave it our best shot,' and it just blew up."
Two years later, they followed that successful Super Bowl Doritos commercial with another one dubbed "Underdog." That one was ranked second overall by USA Today voters, earning them $600,000 in prize money.
Dimondi said the most successful Super Bowl ads are those that tell a story and leave people laughing. "Every shot, every piece of dialogue, every sound effect has to build, higher, and higher, and higher and higher, until at the very end of the spot, you have the maximum amount of funny," he said.
The Super Bowl exposure for Dimondi and friends launched careers and has kept their company thriving.
I'm having so much fun with what I'm doing. I'm working with my friends. You can't really put a price on that, getting to work with your friends," he said.