Doritos Gets Jump On Pre-Super Bowl Web Video Buzz

Paid Placements and Hint of Controversy Drive Big Week for the Big Game Advertiser

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- While many big marketers are keeping fingers crossed for viral buzz to follow their Super Bowl spots, which will air Sunday before an estimated 100 million eager viewers, a few brands are getting a head start in the viral video space -- one with big payoffs.

Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" campaign, in which viewer-submitted spots are voted on and judged for cash prizes and a coveted spot during the game, placed first on the Viral Video Chart with 1.4 million views last week. The most-viewed of the sleekly (and independently) produced Doritos spots was the "Pug Attack," a frontrunner in the online contest. In its third year, the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest has become a fixture around the game, but it also appears to have benefited from some paid placements last week.

The Doritos' spot is the first of a deluge of Super Bowl that will storm the chart starting next week. Some are using paid placements to get a head start on the game. "When you buy a Super Bowl spot and distribute it online beforehand you are buying the reach and getting the frequency. You're also building buzz around it," said Jason Krebs , senior VP at video ad network Tremor Media, which is working with E-Trade, Chevrolet and Bridgestone (but not Doritos).

Krebs cites Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign, which, by its premiere the day after last year's Super Bowl, had already achieved significant buzz online. "Everyone in the industry knew about that campaign before it even peaked. The campaign itself became news. That's what Doritos is doing," he said.

A Doritos rep could not be reached Wednesday to confirm whether any of the "Crash the Super Bowl" spots had received paid media distribution, but measurements estimate a dramatic increase in views for the campaign's noted "Pug Attack" spot -- from around 4,100 on Jan. 15 to approximately 40,000 on Jan. 16. "It's a telling indication, but we can't make that call," said James O' Connor, product marketing analyst for Visible Measures.

At least some of Doritos' recent buzz is earned, however. The brand received some publicity last month when media outlets reported on two controversial gay-themed spots that were submissions in the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest. Though those spots weren't official and didn't even make it as finalists in the contest, the controversy still elevated campaign's visibility, and that of Doritos' Super Bowl plans.

Also placing this week for the first time were campaigns from Mercedes-Benz, which is touting a new Twitter-based contest around several of its assets and the Super Bowl, but also triggered a mini Twitterstorm of complaints, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist and director of media planning at Mediaassociates.com, Ben Kunz, who's fed up with the tweets: "Not a fan of the Mercedes spray-your-followers-with-hashtags bit. Sorry."

Also new is Apple's "Two Is Better Than One" spot which shows the tech marketer taking a decidedly neutral stance in the battle for iPhone customers heating up between Verizon and AT&T.

Last Week Brand Campaign Agency Current Week Views* % Change in Views** Watch the Spot
1 New Doritos Crash the Super Bowl 2011 Goodby Silverstein & Partners 1,438,867 New Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl 2011
2 New Mercedes-Benz Tweet Race Razorfish 1,383,708 New Mercedes-Benz: Tweet Race
3 Back on Chart Nike LeBron Rise Wieden & Kennedy 1,097,529 Back on Chart Nike: LeBron Rise
4 2 Evian Live Young BETC Euro RSCG 1,071,715 -1% Evian: Live Young
5 Back on Chart LG & YouTube Life in a Day Mindshare 825,873 Back on Chart LG & YouTube: Life in a Day
6 4 DC Shoes Gymkhana Three In-house 785,279 -5% DC Shoes: Gymkhana Three
7 3 Blendtec Will it Blend? In-House 667,406 -21% Blendtec: Will it Blend?
8 New Apple Two is Better Than One TBWA/Media Arts Lab 538,387 New Apple: Two is Better Than One
9 Back on Chart Old Spice Responses Wieden & Kennedy 529,431 Back on Chart Old Spice: Responses
10 9 DC Shoes Gymkhana Two In-house 474,487 -3% DC Shoes: Gymkhana Two
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