In March this year, Doritos, along with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and OMD UK, launched a campaign allowing the public to get their crisp-covered fingers on adland's most prized possession: creative ideas generation.
In a promotion called "You Make It, We Play It" that included virals, print, an on-pack promotion, online advertising, a website (www.doritos.co.uk) and partnerships with Facebook, YouTube, Freewebs and Pagii, the snack company entered the world of consumer-generated content.
It presented its consumers with the chance to make their own ads - the best of which, after being voted on by the public, will be aired on TV this month.
At the end of May, five finalists were chosen and Campaign asked a respected executive creative director to cast his eye over them.
Executive creative director, Euro RSCG London
Some time around 1970, my all-time favourite philosopher, Linus van Pelt (brother of Lucy, best friend of Charlie Brown), said with sarcasm well beyond his years: "Great idea! Why don't you paint your own pictures and write your own symphonies too!" in response to Lucy's announcement that she was going to knit herself a jumper.
Thirty years on, we see that Linus' cynical vision of the future has become a reality. Expertise is dead. Why pay lazy painters when you can DIY?
Why eat out when Jamie and friends have made us all chefs?
These days, we frame our own photographs, assemble our own furniture, publish our own books and, if the tidal wave of TV shows are to be believed, a lot of us demolish and rebuild our own homes.
And we in Soho are not immune. When the twin meteors of Final Cut Pro and YouTube collided a few years back, more than a few well-paid advertising creatives felt a tightening in their stomachs.
So... are creatives going the way of the travel agent? I'm not so sure.
There are a few examples of YouTube turning up something that, with the addition of a logo at the back end, became a TV ad. But, other than a David Letterman clip "inspiring" a certain Sony ad, you'd have to say advertising has been more successful at online content than the other way around.
But that doesn't mean there aren't brands trying to buck this trend. The latest to employ the "let the people speak" philosophy is Doritos, which has created the "You Make It, We Play It" DIY TV ad contest.
The site is quite well put together, cool-looking, packed with helpful info and is easy to navigate. It
was almost certainly not put together by a consumer. The spots? In my opinion, there are two good ones and three less-good ones.
The first of the less-good uses the old Chuck Close trick of taking lots of disparate colour blotches (in this case, photos of people having fun together) to make a single image - a bag of Doritos.
The line is something like "made for sharing". The next ad employs a bit of gross-out humour with a guy eating the salsa off his buddy's face). The third uses stop-frame photography to show a Mayan-type sacrifice, where a Dorito is tossed into some burning hot salsa .
Of the two good ones, one shows a vintage arcade game cock-fight between a Mexican wrestler and, well, a cock, inside someone's mouth. The line is "Mexico in your mouth". Hmmm... writing it there, it sounds pretty lame, but the production values are surprisingly high.
The winner, in my view, is a simple screen test to find the actor to be in the DIY Doritos ad.. In a very believably shot scene, he assures us he likes hot chips, but then when he tries one his head instantly bulges into a kind of flaming mephisto for a few seconds. He recovers and says: "Ooh yes, that's lovely." Or something.
The ad genuinely made me laugh. Twice. So well done to Lucy H.
So, is your job safe? I'd say yes. Most of the films are simply people remaking ads they've seen on TV,
a sort of "I can do what you do" approach. Of course, what brands need is an "I can do what no-one has done before" approach. And that usually requires experts.
Has this worked as a promotional vehicle for Doritos? I've no idea.
According to the website, almost one thousand people took the time to make and submit a 30-second ad, so that represents a tremendous amount of consumer involvement in the brand, as well as generating a lot of free content for it. On the other hand... is anyone going online to look beside the filmmakers and their families?
I'm partial to the odd bag of Cool Ranch, and I'd never heard of the contest before.
VIEW THE DORITOS COMPETITION FINALISTS:
Made to share
Mexico in your mouth