BYU grad makes semi-finals in Doritos Super Bowl Competition

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Chris Capel stops for a photo with the actors behind the scenes of his finalist Doritos commercial, "Office Thief." (Photo courtesy Chris Capel)
Chris Capel stops for a photo with the actors behind the scenes of his finalist Doritos commercial, “Office Thief.” (Photo courtesy Chris Capel)

Super Bowl XLVIII is just around the corner, bringing joy to football fans across the country. But for those less-than-enthused about the Broncos-Seahawks matchup, there are clever commercials to look forward to.

The Super Bowl’s infamously funny and memorable commercials are the reason some people watch the big game, and BYU’s connection to these commercials is closer than some might think.

Students and graduates of the BYU advertising program are well-known for their annual excellence in the Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, and this year is no different.

This year, Chris Capel, a 33-year-old LDS director, and his team produced “Office Thief,” which is a finalist in the contest.

Prior to this year, Tyler Dixon, a BYU graduate, was a finalist for three straight years in Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. In 2010, BYU’s Ad Lab produced a commercial for the contest that won a Student Gold ADDY award.

No BYU-affiliated commercial has ever won Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” content, but they have their sights set on the prize.

The great American comic book writer Stan Lee, former president of Marvel, personally called Capel to congratulate him on becoming a “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” semi-finalist in December.

Capel didn’t believe it was real for about half the phone call.

“By the end I was shaking,” he said. “I almost passed out.”

If Capel’s “Office Thief” commercial beats its four other competitors in the annual “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” competition, it will air during the 2014 Super Bowl on Feb. 2 for hundreds of millions of viewers. His team, which includes BYU grad David Lake, could win $1 million and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work on the set of Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” in London.

In “Office Thief,” everyone’s Doritos go mysteriously missing from the office break room. Jerry, the security guard, is found covered in cheesy, crunchy, orange powder. Jerry is appalled when his boss accuses him of being the culprit and continuously denies the allegation in a comical way.

Capel and his writing partner Richard Price had been wanting to enter the competition for a while but were waiting for the right moment.

“It took finding not only an idea we believed in, but an idea we could afford to shoot,” Capel said.

Once the idea was conceived, the creation process was quick and easy.

Lake said, “The video took about six hours to film, and then we had about a week of production.”

The team never expected to have such huge success.

“Chris really just made the video to boost his directing reel with no expectations about going deep into the competition,” Lake said.

Capel added, “I never dreamed we’d make the top five.”

Despite their initial shock, the team is confident in the commercial’s chance of winning.

“Our video appeals to the widest range of people, has the best acting and represents Doritos best,” Lake said.

The grand prize for Doritos’ competition is a game-changer for emerging directors.

“The prize of having your commercial air during the Super Bowl and getting to work on the ‘Avengers 2’ in London are just incredible awards,” Capel said. “They would do so much for our careers.”

And the $1 million? Capel comes from a unique family of 14 children, seven of whom are adopted from Africa.

“My parents are amazing examples of charity, so I wouldn’t feel right not giving a significant chunk of the prize money to a charity of some kind,” Capel said. “Preferably something to do with Africa and helping out the situation there in some way.”

In addition, Capel would donate 10 percent to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to the official “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” website, viewers can vote for their favorite commercial “once per day, once per device.”

Check out “Office Thief” at www.voteofficethief.com or www.doritos.com to vote.

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