RALEIGH — The recession may soon be a distant worry for a group of 20-somethings and a Cary grandfather who stand to split $3.6 million if they sweep a national video contest for Frito-Lay.
This bunch has beaten out more than 4,000 contenders and has two commercials among six vying to air during the Super Bowl next month.
"To say you're one of the few people in the world who has actually produced a Super Bowl commercial, that's a huge résumé booster," said Rudy Wilson, a vice president at Frito-Lay. "A lot of them will get offers for jobs."
One 30-second spot, "Underdog," shows Brian Oliver, a Raleigh part-time actor and freelance video editor, being outsmarted by a dog for Doritos.
In the other, "Kids These Days," Wayne Phillips, the retired grandfather of one of the videographers, tasers a whippersnapper - played by Joshua Svoboda of Raleigh, a Green Hope High School grad - who cuts in front of him to buy the last bag of Doritos.
Svoboda, 24, is creative director at 5 Point Productions, a four-employee Raleigh ad agency that made both commercials. The vending machine skit is credited to his 25-year-old colleague, Nick Dimondi, who was home-schooled in Raleigh and graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Dimondi is an old hand at filming Doritos commercials. He won first place in 2007 in an online contest for the best homemade Doritos plug.
If they win the prize, the contenders plan to share it with the venture capitalists behind the project: That would be the two buddies who lent them a few hundred bucks to finance the filming.
Frito-Lay has paid the six finalists $25,000 per video for getting this far. The top three winners in an online vote this month will be aired during the Super Bowl. Each person may vote once a day.
The big payoff comes from another vote, the USA Today "ad meter" after the game ends. First prize: $1 million. Second prize: $600,000. Third prize: $400,000.
If the "ad meter" votes place the homemade spots in the top three, then each winner gets an additional $1 million.