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persuasion notebook

A screengrab from Graham Talbot's ad "When Pigs Fly," an entry in Doritos' annual Super Bowl ad contest.Screengrab

Two Canadians are competing in an advertising contest to reach millions of viewers in next month's Super Bowl.

The annual "Crash the Super Bowl" contest for PepsiCo chip brand Doritos named its 10 finalists on Monday. Among them are Devon Ferguson of Vancouver, with his video "Selfish Sneezers," and Graham Talbot from Maple Ridge, B.C., with "When Pigs Fly."

The contest began nine years ago. Since then, a growing number of marketers have jumped on the bandwagon of what is known as "user-generated content," asking consumers to help make their ads or name their products.

These types of campaigns are a scheme to increase publicity around their advertising. This is especially important during Super Bowl season. Sports have become a rare occasion when people actually watch television live. With the egregious amount of money that companies spend to be included in the biggest sports broadcast in America, companies need to ensure they get noticed in order to make something of their Super Bowl investment. Many have begun airing "teasers" and "trailers," movie-style – essentially ads for ads – online in advance of the big game. Others, like PepsiCo, have used contests to bring in more attention.

Whether through big-name celebrity cameos, the use of humour, or adorable puppies, advertisers have pushed the idea that their commercials are as much of an event for some viewers as the game itself.

This is the second year that Doritos has opened up its contest to entrants outside of the U.S. The company received almost 4,900 submissions from 29 countries. In addition to the Canadian ads, one video from the U.K. and one from Australia were included in the final list of contenders. All 10 finalists can be seen on the Doritos website.

Two ads will be chosen to air during the U.S. broadcast of the big game on Feb. 1, through fan votes on the brand website. Since the glitzy American ads on that broadcast are not seen by most TV viewers in Canada, the company will buy time on CTV to air its ads here as well.

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