Doritos: You create our Super Bowl commercial
Snack food maker issues challenge to consumers. The best user-generated commercial for Doritos will air in next year's Super Bowl.
By Paul R. La Monica, editor at large

NEW YORK ( -- Ever watch a lousy TV commercial and think that you could do a better job than the marketing agency who was probably paid a big fat fee?

Well, Doritos will give you a chance to show why you're more creative than Madison Avenue...and on the world's biggest stage for advertising, the Super Bowl.

Pepsi's Frito-Lay division is launching an unusual promotion for Doritos: average consumers will have the chance to create a commercial that will air during next year's Super Bowl.

Doritos, the snack food made by PepsiCo's (Charts) Frito-Lay division, announced on Thursday that it wants ordinary consumers to submit ads for Doritos between October 2 and December 1 and that the best ad will air during the Super Bowl, an event that last year was viewed by more than 90 million people in the U.S.

The promotion is being done in conjunction with Yahoo! Video, the online video site owned by the popular search engine. The aspiring commercial directors can use tools from Yahoo (Charts) to create and upload their videos.

Doritos will select five finalists in January and those ads will air on Yahoo's video site where people can go to watch and vote for their favorite. A marketing executive from Doritos said that the company is hoping to capitalize on the user-generated video craze.

Privately held YouTube has rapidly become one of the most buzzed about sites on the Web thanks to quirky videos submitted by users. News Corp.'s (Charts) MySpace, Yahoo and Google (Charts) are all trying to cash in on the popularity of user-generated content as well. And last month Sony agreed to buy online video site Grouper.

"In today's increasingly reality-driven world, people are looking for new ways to interact with, help shape and even personalize what is important to them," said Ann Mukherjee, vice president of marketing for Doritos, in a statement. "While we've had great success with star-studded Super Bowl commercials in years past, today we are most inspired by the people who love Doritos chips."

But for Doritos, banking on amateur video directors to make a successful commercial has some big financial risks. Companies spent an average of $2.5 million for a 30-second spot during this year's Super Bowl XL, which aired on Walt Disney (Charts)-owned ABC.

CBS will air Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 and during a media industry conference earlier this week, CBS (Charts) CEO Leslie Moonves said his network was already starting to see healthy demand for commercial time during next year's game.

Still, one executive of an online video company said that Doritos may start a trend, namely that having consumers make their commercials could be a much cheaper way to advertise than hiring a high-profile ad agency.

"The phenomenon of user-generated content could help advertisers to drive costs down. For that, user video is perfect," said Gary Baker, president of ClipBlast!, a privately held online video search firm. "I'd expect advertisers to take more intriguing risks."


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