CITYWIDE— A young girl is hawking lemonade, but when her neighbors approach the stand they instead notice the bag of Doritos behind her. It’s not for sale— or is it?
The quick-thinking child deftly morphs into an auctioneer as the adults vie for the chips, setting up the rest of a 30-second commercial that is currently competing for Super Bowl airtime.
The spot, which was written by Santa Monica resident Richard Jindapornsuk and produced and edited by fellow local Dave Horowitz, could lead to $1 million and a temporary post at Universal Pictures if their video beats out the other finalists in the ninth-annual Frito-Lay ad contest.
“What I like about Richard’s idea is that it embodies the American dream— (the girl) is basically using a clever entrepreneurial spirit that America identifies with,” said Horowitz, who founded locally based Lot 405 Productions in 2012. “What better way to sell something that you’re so passionate about than in an auction?”
From the batch of 10 remaining submissions, which includes “The Lemonade Stand,” online voters are tasked with selecting a grand-prize winner before the Jan. 28 deadline. (Supporters are allowed to vote once per day per device.) Doritos will also pick a second honoree, and both top ads will air during the most-watched sporting event of the year, according to the company’s “Crash the Super Bowl” website.
Chosen from a pool of nearly 4,900 entrants from 29 different countries, the finalists have been invited to Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The local contingent will include Horowitz as well as Nick Sivakumaran, who directed the ad.
It comes as little surprise that their video advanced to the last round— after all, they’ve done well in similar competitions before. After attending the University of Rochester in New York, Horowitz and Sivakumaran submitted a 30-second spot for Lifestyles Condoms that played on MTV and Comedy Central and reeled in a cash prize.
“Twenty years later, here we are entering on a much bigger stage,” Horowitz said.
The initial idea for the Doritos ad came from Jindapornsuk, who works with Horowitz at Sushi Roku on Ocean Avenue in downtown Santa Monica. Horowitz said his longtime restaurant colleague had pitched him dozens of ideas in the past, but he said his “eyes lit up” when he heard this one.
And because it was too late to enter last year’s contest by the time they committed to making the commercial, Horowitz and Jindapornsuk set plans in motion to create a spot for this year’s competition.
Horowitz has been involved in the film industry for about two decades and has completed projects for both movie stars and corporations. But with a budget of just $1,200 for the Super Bowl ad project, Horowitz rounded up collaborators, culled favors and coordinated a one-day filming session in Simi Valley.
“There were so many challenges, so we really had to be organized,” Horowitz said. “Fortunately we were barely able to beat the sunset and get all of our shots.”
Following what Horowitz described as a “whirlwind” production schedule, the ad has blossomed into a serious contender. First, it advanced to the semifinals. Recently, it aired in its entirety on the “Today” show as the list of submissions was cut to 10. The original YouTube video has been viewed more than 63,000 times— and its audience could grow exponentially if it makes the last cut.
“Even for the semifinals, I almost had a heart attack,” said Jindapornsuk, who didn’t want to jinx his chances but added that he and Horowitz have discussed donating at least some of the potential prize money to charity. “(Making the finals), it’s another level. I’m very excited —ecstatic. It’s just, ‘Wow.'”
Jindapornsuk, who was born in Bangkok and raised in Pasadena, said he plans to watch the NFL finale at a house party or bar in Santa Monica. But his attention probably won’t be focused on the game itself.
“I’m going to be watching the commercials more,” he said.
To view the commercial and vote, visit https://crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com/finalists#/6514.