Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” - an effective social media campaign


By Abby Rudd and Tom Collinger

From out-of-control flying pigs and adorable talking babies to irritating airline passengers and first dances, Doritos’ 'Crash the Super Bowl' campaign generated a whirlwind of Super Bowl buzz. Doritos handed the camera over to up-and-coming filmmakers for the ninth straight year results exceeding the viral success of 2014’s 'Time Machine.'

This year, the campaign resulted in user-generated video entries from 29 countries created exclusively for the hopes of being selected as finalists. These videos depicted the fan’s Dorito-love through creatively crafted scenarios about this cheesy chip. A panel of advertising experts chose ten entries to enter the final round of evaluations, and then the power was placed back in the consumers’ hands. Doritos’ fans from around the world voted and chose this year’s winner that was crowned February 1. Each of these finalists won a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Glendale, Ariz. for Super Bowl XLIX in addition to a $25,000 cash prize. The winner is promised $1 million.

As millions gather around their TVs, the ‘Middle Seat’ aired as the fan favorite and winner of this year’s social media campaign. With more than 7 million YouTube views, this campaign has proven, once again, the success of creating brand value through content co-creation. Scott Zabielski ‘Middle Seat’ creator and a Chicago native, was astounded by the success of his winning commercial and its generation of over 1.8 million views alone.

And we know that user-generated content is uncommonly effective among real fans of a brand. At Medill IMC’s Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center, we analyzed how customer engagement in social media contests affects a consumer’s corresponding purchase behavior. Our analysis proved that customers who participated in content co-creation across a brand’s digital platforms spent more.

The results are thanks to an unusual data set provided by Air Miles, the Canadian coalition loyalty program, linking social mentions and views to subsequent purchases.

Posting to the prompt that asked to “tell us what you’re saving for” through a social media contest led to a 42% increase in spending, and that continued to improve by 35% four weeks following participation. And those who viewed others’ posts but did not post themselves increased their own spending at 40 percent or more.

Yes, social media contests drive sales. Here are 5 reasons why we believe user-generated content contests work.

1.    It unlocks the brand meaning.
This contest asked for fans to answer the most personally brand-relevant question…”what does the brand mean to you?” evoking the emotional connection that already exists between the customer and the brand.

2.    It’s personal.
Advertising, especially Big Budget-Super Bowl-Sized TV advertising, appeals to the largest audience possible, but this contest also evoked personal, even intimate engagement.

3.    It’s story-telling.
The contest didn’t list brand features or benefits. Rather, the contestants authored stories in the form of a 30 second video, and stories “connect and engage”.

4.    This participation is a chain reaction.
The participants were highly engaged in creation: watching, voting, and sharing. Customers demonstrated increasing levels of commitment to the brand and contest. The videos from the ten finalists attained a total reach of over 7,100,000 views on YouTube alone.

And the viewers did more than just vote: they raved through #CrashtheSuperBowl:

@Genevieve Seriously all this ‪#CrashtheSuperBowl‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ stuff was fine until it got on @peoplemag - now it's AMAZING! @DoritosMidSeat ‪ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

@GoodbyeClutter: Voted for pig ad, loved little auctioneer girl, but lafffed out loud at fish screams! Doritos #CrashtheSuperBowl ads

@Lauren_E_Ulmer: There's a few gems in the #CrashtheSuperBowl entries this year, I couldn't resist. Here's my vote:

And, to draw maximum attention to this, Doritos also secured a commercial spot with 110 million household viewers across the US, while getting consumers involved from day one.

5.    It rewards True Believers.
The true fans are the very ones who deserve to be rewarded. Watching their stories being shared and voted on, and possibly chosen for wide release is an uncommon way for a consumer to be appreciated.

While Doritos may not have access to the data linking individual customer participation or viewing with subsequent purchase, as our research did, we know that they know the power of having customers share what Doritos means to them.

Congratulations, Doritos. And Happy 9th Anniversary.

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