Crash the Super Bowl crashes Canada

The CRTC is banning Super Bowl simsub in 2017, but Doritos is already one step ahead.

Doritos has something for the Canadian consumers that have been clamoring to see U.S. Super Bowl ads during the big game. As it has done south of the border, the company has purchased 60 seconds of airtime on CTV during the big game to broadcast two winners of this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest.

Doritos has been running Crash the Super Bowl since 2006, a contest that allows consumers to create and submit their own Doritos ad, with winners, chosen by an online fan vote, getting coveted (and expensive) Super Bowl airtime. Last year’s edition was the first to include international entries, which has been continued this year. The ten finalists, including two Canadian entries, were unveiled on Jan. 5 and can currently be viewed on the Crash the Super Bowl website. The finalists will attend the Super Bowl this weekend, where they’ll learn which two ads received the most votes. This year’s winner will receive $1 million and a one-year contract for a job with Universal Studios.

The contest voting ended last night, and was promoted for the first time in Canada with in-store merchandising that drove to the contest website.

The big dollars and big audience associated with the Super Bowl means its ads are often as big of a draw and conversation point as the game itself. However, Canadians can sometimes be left in the cold due to simultaneous substitution rules that allow broadcasters here to replace U.S. ads with Canadian ones. This means the only way Canadians can see the spots during a TV broadcast is if a company also buys airtime on the Canadian broadcaster. Most ads are also available for viewing online regardless of country, but with 7.9 million viewers in Canada, the Super Bowl remains a huge platform for any brand.

This is set to change as, this morning, the CRTC announced it will prohibit simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl starting with the 2017 game, a decision fueled largely from public demand in spite of counter-arguments from both media companies and advertisers.

Susan Irving, director of marketing for core brands at PepsiCo Foods Canada says this is something the brand heard loud and clear when it brought the ads to Canada last year, and the continued demand coupled with the positive response it received is what motivated Doritos to do it again. Irving says last year’s winning ad received such a warm reception from Canadian audiences that the company continued to run it here through the end of February, something the brand is open to doing again depending on consumer response.

Doritos’ core target is male millennials, and Irving says programs like Crash the Super Bowl promote a kind of consumer interaction that the audience expects from a brand in the social media age, then elevates it to a higher stage like the Super Bowl.

“For the last nine years, [Doritos] has been about giving the consumers a stage and giving them opportunities that don’t just come to them,” Irving says, also pointing to things like last year’s Doritos Roulette program, which featured fans submitting videos of themselves playing the game and finding the spicy chip hidden inside a bag. “A lot of our programming that we do is looking for a way to have a two-way conversation with them and give them opportunities to participate in what we do. There is also a huge appeal for consumers to go online and see content generated for our brand by consumers.”