SFU graduates enter Super Bowl commercial contest

Nelson and Graham Talbot have been working as “struggling filmmakers” since graduating in 2011.

SFU graduates and twin brothers Nelson and Graham Talbot have been chosen as finalists in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Competition, for which the grand prize is $1 million and a year-long employment contract with Universal Pictures.

If successful, the twins will also have their TV spot aired to an audience of well over 100 million people during this year’s Super Bowl on February 1.

This is the Talbot twins’ second time participating in the competition; in fact, they were semi-finalists last year. Their previous commercial was decidedly “darker” than their current entry; the 30-second spot showed a mermaid seemingly seducing two fisherman until the camera cuts to a shot of her on the wall, hung like a trophy catch.

The twins have learned from last years’ experience. Graham acknowledged that they “just came up with a funny idea, and didn’t think much about the branding of Doritos and their history and the rest of their commercials.”

“In football, they throw around the pigskin, and we’ve got a flying pig.”

Graham Talbot,

SFU alumnus

The new approach, explained Nelson, “plays it a little safer with clean, all-American humour that has a pretty wide audience.” The new ad features an adorable little boy on a farm who is told he can have a Dorito “when pigs fly.” The boy sets his mind to creating rockets, which he uses to launch a pig into the sky. He then triumphantly eats his Doritos.

Nelson told The Peak, “We knew what we wanted. We wanted a kid and an animal. Then it was just sitting down together and brainstorming and pounding out a couple hundred ideas until we found one we really grabbed a hold of.”

The twins feel that their advertisement has a competitive edge over the other entries. “Ours has a super bold atmosphere to it,” said Graham, “It’s got a kid that is on a mission to accomplish something.”

In keeping with the lessons learned from the previous year, the twins wanted the commercial to have wide appeal. “The people that will enjoy it [is] anyone from a small child to full grown adults, both women and men.”

The two acknowledge that considering the diverse audience of the Super Bowl, they aimed for a down to earth look, right down to the farm setting. Graham laughed about how “in football, they throw around the pigskin, and we’ve got a flying pig.”

The budget for their ad was $1200 — money out of their own pockets, as well as contributed by their parents. “Even if you don’t win, hopefully it’s a good enough investment in your career,” explained Nelson.

“It’s worth spending that little bit of money for the risk and reward.” When speaking about the budget, Graham noted, “Super Bowl commercials tend to have a high production value and ours looks a hell of a lot more expensive than 1200 bucks.”

The twins who both graduated from the Contemporary Arts Program at SFU in 2011 and describe themselves as “struggling filmmakers” ever since. They said they hope that winning the prize will solidify the career path they’ve chosen and hopefully get them more work in the future.

Nelson noted that they intend to pay those who helped with the video, such as the actors, visual effects supervisor, and co-producer, but admitted that the cash prize is “going to be a big help no matter what.”

The winner will be announced at the end of January.