Amateur Versus Professional (*Update*)

Earlier this week like a lot of people I’d heard about the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” competition (link) which asked aspiring filmmakers to make a 30-second commercial, submit it to Jumpcut for judging, and then have the “crowd” vote on the best entry (you can see all the entries here – Link). Anyway, I looked through the submissions and as it happens my favorite, “Checkout Girl”, just aired.

Turns out it wasn’t the winning entry but a finalist. No matter. What was important to me was seeing an amateur commercial of that quality along with whatever followed it, because in the end that comparison – the one between amateur and professional – is going to stick in the minds of more than just the advertising and marketing community; it’s going to be discussed by a whole lot of people (like me). And that discussion is going to be about more than just a short commercial. This “Us versus Them” thing is going to extend into other areas, including the realm of product design; because when personal fabrication catches on and people are designing and fabbing their own tangible products, this comparison and these discussions are going to resurface.

This isn’t about technical proficiency, it’s about ideas. And Kristin Dehnert has shown that good ideas are not limited to high-priced executives who charge exhorbitant fees. Ideas can and do come from anywhere and anyone.

I don’t doubt there are a few “idea” people in the advertising world getting a little worried right about now. However, I wonder if there are any “idea” people in the design world worrying.

{Update: I was just reading over Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel’s comments about the ads (Link) and even though he didn’t point it out, while taking another look at the two commercials I discovered that I got it wrong. Turns out that the commercial with which I was comparing the Doritos one above was itself another amateur competition winner… the “Chevy College Super Bowl Ad Challenge” selection (Link). So it appears I blew it. But there’s still something interesting here. Check out this clip from the Chevy competition rules (Link):

Submission of complete entries must be made by October 13, 2006 (the “Submission Deadline”). Five (5) finalists shall be selected on or before October 23, 2006. The finalists will personally present their submissions to the Contest judges between November 6 and November 8, 2006. One (1) winning team’s submission will be selected by the Contest Judges and will be used as the concept for a commercial to be produced by General Motors and aired during Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007.

You mean a group of judges actually picked that concept for production? That raises a different question: Did they intentionally choose that crappy thing? I don’t know. Guess I could watch the “making of” webisodes they posted (Link). It may or may not show what is probably the most important part: choosing the best ideas. Regardless, unlike the Doritos competition, Chevy stuck its hands into the mix early on and that turned out to be a bad thing afaic. From the webisode site:

Their challenge is to come up with an idea, present it to judges, and then if they win, be part of the real-life advertising production process and see the commercial from conception to broadcast during Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007.

So as it turns out, my original contention that the issue here is Ideas may actually be reinforced by how these two competitions were handled.

Think I’ll find time later to see those webisodes.}