You know how I am about television commercials. And if you don’t, I’m crazy about them…well, the good ones, anyway. When you think about it, how difficult must it be to come up with a short little blurb to sell your product? It has to grab the viewers attention and convey a memorable message. The poor ones are awful (but ironically memorable in a bad way sometimes). When done right, they can be awesome. In the past I’ve highlighted a few of the really good ones in this blog.
Each year the Super Bowl brings a passel of new commercials. Advertisers know they have a humongous captive market, and they try to capitalize on it. They pay dearly for commercial time during the game, and so they want each second to count.
There are plenty of websites on which you can view the best and the worst Super Bowl commercials. The usual suspects populate “the best” list: Volkswagen, Chrysler, Budweiser…and of course, Doritos, all of whom have consistently given us little 30 and 60-second works of art. And oh yes, I do believe these are works of art!
Take Doritos. They always make fun, memorable spots. This year they held a competition to see who could come up with the best commercial for their product. Of all the entries received, the winner is called, “Goat 4 Sale.” If you saw it during the game you probably laughed - it is "laugh out loud" funny. But you probably missed a lot of it. For it is only after repeated viewing that one can appreciate all the talent and work that went into this incredible spot.
Obviously the commercial is about a goat. For the humor in the commercial to work, one must know in advance that goats can make some very human-like sounds. A quick YouTube search of “screaming goats” will turn up some hilarious clips. Like this one… (Relax, it’s only 7 seconds long.)
Now to the Doritos commercial.
It starts with a bearded man walking down the street eating a bag of Doritos. He comes upon a guy sitting in a chair in his front lawn with a goat next to him and a handmade sign propped up beside him that says, “Goat 4 Sale.” We notice that the goat seller is in a neckbrace and there’s a crutch laying on the grass next to his chair. The goat is also eating from a bag of Doritos. In the very next shot we see the bearded man sitting at his kitchen table with the goat; both of them are enjoying a bag of Doritos. The man opens the pantry, showing the goat shelves stocked chock-full of bags of Doritos. Cut to a night shot: The man is building a balsa wood or popsicle stick bridge – the goat is with him, still eating Doritos, up to bag number 42. Next we see the man lying in bed, trying to get to sleep with the goat working his way through bag number 156. The camera then zooms in on the man’s annoyed face as the sound of incessant Doritos chomping grows louder and louder and louder…
Black screen with the message: “The Next Day.”
We see a close up of the goat as it screams. Camera angle switches to reveal a completely empty pantry. The goat screams again, louder and longer. Cut to a framed picture of the goat’s new owner – a goat hoof smashes the glass. The then angry goat jumps on the popsicle stick bridge, destroying it. From inside the man’s bedroom, the door is flung open…kicked open by the goat. Switch to a shot of the startled man in his pajamas, holding a bag of Doritos. In fact, the bedroom is full of them. We see that he’s also in the process of making a sign that says, “Goat 4 Sale.” The goat slowly enters the room and they cut to a shot of the just the goats legs. One of his hind legs kicks the door shut…from the inside. Then they cut to a shot is of the man’s very frightened face as the commercial fades to the Doritos logo.
Some fun details: When the goat realizes that the pantry is empty, watch his eyes during his second scream. Also, pause the video on the picture of the man just before the goat hoof smashes it. You can see the reflection of the goat’s face in the glass. When the goat kicks the man’s bedroom door open, watch how the Doritos fly out of the bag he’s holding as he jumps. Finally, notice that the camera’s point-of-view is outside of the bedroom as the door closes, preventing us from seeing what happens next, which is left up to our imagination. But we know! Because we remember the first scene…the guy with the neck brace and crutch.
For me, it all works exquisitely. It’s a hilarious, creative, memorable commercial that I watch over and over…and laugh at each time. I appreciate the work that went into dreaming it up and making it. I wish all advertisers put as much effort and care into selling their stuff. Because when I’m standing in front of a vending machine, trying to decide what to select, you can bet that if there’s a bag of Doritos in there, I’m going to remember the goat, chuckle and buy it (unless I’m having a huge craving for something chocolate).
Here's the commercial! (X-out the little "vote" popup thingee and restart the commercial for full effect.)