Hours after a commercial he produced aired to an audience of more than 115 million, a Franklin College graduate still hadn’t slept.
Travis Braun had watched the Super Bowl from box suite seats at Levi’s Stadium and had been whisked off to New York City in a private jet to do a slew of TV interviews, including “Good Morning America.”
After three previous tries, Braun had finally won the $1 million grand prize and the champion title in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest.
His previous entries had gotten him attention from large companies, such as Marriott, and won $25,000 in cash. But this time, Braun and his co-producer will get $1 million, work with the Doritos creative team on a future project and the opportunity to shadow film director Zack Snyder.
The day after the big game, the reality of winning hadn’t quite set in, Braun said.
The night before, he had been in a box suite next to soccer star David Beckham, waiting to see if his commercial would be picked as this year’s winner of the contest after making it to the final three.
Doritos executives called the finalists over to a TV screen to count down the seconds until the commercial aired. The company officials told the finalists, “Just two more commercials until our spot,” then “One more commercial left,” until finally it was time, Braun said.
“That 10th of a second felt like a lifetime,” Braun said.
As soon as he saw the first few frames of their commercial, Braun realized he and his co-producer Jacob Chase had won with their 30-second spot that featured dogs stacking themselves up and dressing like a human so they can buy Doritos from a grocery store.
Once the Super Bowl ended, Braun and Chase were flown to New York City, where they started a press tour. Before the plane took off, Braun was able to check his numerous voicemail messages left by friends and family members, as well as Franklin College President Thomas Minar.
Once they finish interviews in New York during the next few days, Braun will fly back to San Francisco to grab his luggage that he left behind, and work his way back to Los Angeles, where he lives and works as a writer.
The experience of being at the game was incredible, but was nothing compared to someone handing them a check for $1 million, he said.
Last year, Braun was a top 10 finalist for the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl commercial, which got him $25,000 and enough press to start working with big name companies such as Marriott hotels and Virgin America, Braun said.
“I promised myself that if they had one more year, I would do anything I could to win it,” Braun said. “And it paid off.”
The commercial was the first time Braun and Chase have worked together, but they plan on writing, producing and directing a feature film. Now, the two have enough seed money to fund the project, but first will use part of the $1 million cash prize to pay the crew that helped make the Doritos commercial, Braun said.
Braun hopes to continue working with companies to make commercials or write for television or movies. Currently, Braun writes made-for-TV movies for Disney Jr. and Nickelodeon.
The Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest is ending after 10 years, so Braun can always say his commercial was the winner for the last year.
“Even though it’s ending, it’s changed lives,” Braun said. “It’s changed my life.”