A University of Southern California graduate won first place in Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest Sunday, as well as $1 million and a “dream job” at Universal Pictures, according to multiple tweets.
“Middle Seat” director Scott Zabielski could be seen posing with actress Elizabeth Banks along with a large check made out in his name for $1 million in a photo she tweeted from her verified account around 7:30 p.m.
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) February 2, 2015
The tweet, which was retweeted by Doritos although the company had not officially announced Zabielski’s first-place win, congratulated him on the big prize.
Zabielski, a 35-year-old Burbank resident who was an executive producer on the comedy TV show “Tosh.O,” took on the project with a $2,000 budget just two weeks shy of the contest deadline although he had never previously directed a commercial.
After he was chosen as one of 10 finalists, out of some 5,000 entrees, he told KTLA his inspiration was comedy everyone could understand.
“My favorite kind of comedy is the stuff you watch and say that’s so true. Stuff that you can really relate to,” Zabielski said.
The 30-second commercial takes place in an airplane, focusing on a man who landed the coveted aisle seat with no neighboring passengers.
“That is something that’s certainly happened to me, and a lot of my friends have said it’s happened to them too – where you’re sitting on the plane, you’re in that aisle seat, see people coming down the aisle and you hope nobody sits next to you,” Zabielski said.
The man blows his nose, clips his toenails and does other seemingly obnoxious things in an effort to stave off potential seat mates until he sees an attractive woman – played by a fellow Trojan – walk down the aisle.
He then grabs a bag of Doritos in an apparent effort to get the woman to sit next to him – which she does.
The catch, he didn’t realize she’s holding a crying baby – played by the director’s son.
Although Zabielski did not say he was inspired by his son, his wife told KTLA she’s aware that people may not want to sit next to them on airplanes anymore.
“The first time we had to travel home with the baby, we were like, ‘we’re those people now, we’re those people,’” Genevieve Zabielski said.
It was unclear what Zabielski’s “dream job” at Universal would entail, but video tweeted by Doritos of the director watching his commercial air during the Super Bowl showed him smiling and exchanging hugs and multiple high fives with those around him.
— Doritos (@Doritos) February 2, 2015
The other contest finalist was a commercial depicting a child so desperate for Doritos, he managed to make a pig fly.
A man who identified as one of the commercial’s actors on Twitter stated they won second place.
— Brendan Taylor (@MrBrendanTaylor) February 2, 2015
According to USC, another Trojan was one of the top 10 finalists for the contest.
USC grads J.R. Burningham and Tess Ortbals also won the contest in 2011 for their commercial, “Pug Attack.”