Meet the L.A. Couple Who Are Finalists for the Doritos Super Bowl Ad Contest for the Third Year in a Row
How much did "Road Chip" cost to make?
TYLER: It cost just under $3,000.
HEATHER: And it cost a little more because once we won the $25,000 for being a finalist, we went back and paid everyone a better day rate. If we win the million we'll give everyone an additional rate bump as well. We make sure everyone gets a piece of the pie so it's not just us winning the money.
Do you think being a finalist from a previous year gives someone an advantage over other contestants?
TYLER: We've never met the judges. It's always rotating. The way it works at Doritos is one person runs the Crash the Super Bowl program one year and then moves on. They graduate from it, so it's never the same people.
HEATHER: One advantage we do have is that we've studied what they're looking for over numerous years. I'm not sure everyone puts that much time into "What does this brand want?"
So how did you guys end up in this crazy town? What did you come here to do?
HEATHER: Right after I graduated, I moved out here. I had originally majored in dance, then switched to film and media studies. I wanted to direct but I got into the producing side because I wanted to learn about all the jobs on set in order to be a better director. Now I'm trying to get back into the directing side. I spent the last five years working at Mattell writing and producing commercials for like, Hot Wheels. Commercials are really fun, but the ultimate goal is to make movies.
TYLER: Straight out of school, I worked for a consulting firm. Then I did medical device sales, then I did real estate. Finally I just got tired of doing stuff I didn't love and decided to create TV and film. I've always had great ideas for those mediums and a good sense of humor. I started as a writer but I quickly realized it's a lot easier to get an idea in front of someone if you film it as opposed to just writing a script. I'm a self-taught film maker.
I have a handful of TV projects I'm developing. My ultimate goal is to create for television and I have a few film scripts I'm working on as well. In the immediate future I'd love to get repped as a commercial director and eventually work my way up to features.
Courtesy of Tyler Dixon Behind the scenes of "Road Chip"
Other than winning the million, what keeps bringing you back to the Super Bowl Challenge?
TYLER: The economy has really taken a toll on this industry. It's a lot harder now to get repped and get paying jobs. So one reason we keep doing it is that we're still trying to break in. I feel like we have to keep proving ourselves.
HEATHER: Yea, some people think, "Oh they're professionals already. That's why their ad is so good." But why would we be doing this if we were professionals?
TYLER: If I was repped by a production company I wouldn't still be doing this! I'm still a door to door salesman. After winning this contest three years in a row, that's still how I'm making my money. And if you're paying for your own productions, this is not a cheap hobby.
HEATHER: I think we're proving to people that we really know what we're doing. People see that it wasn't just a fluke. The quality of our ads is consistently great. We have really good ideas. Winning the million would definitely help so that we could start our own company or invest in our own films.
Has being a finalist three years running helped you move forward in your careers?
Heather: I was making more internal videos for Mattell for a long time and once I started making the Doritos ads I pitched myself as a writer/creative producer to the agency. It helped me prove myself to them and I got to start making actual commercials.
I wouldn't say it's lead to one specific job. I'm still trying to break in. But I've learned a lot. I'm not the best self-promoter. I like to make stuff and have the work speak for itself, but this is the new order of things. You have to be proactive and create your own opportunities. The old way was waiting around for someone to come along and say, "Oh you're talented -- here's this job." Nowadays you have to go out and create the job yourself.
HEATHER: I've also learned so much about social media through this process -- how to promote ourselves and how to brand ourselves, which I think will be helpful in the future.