Jan. 20, 2021
Biola alumni Kevin Willson (’01) and Stephen Yao (’05) were two of the creative minds behind the Doritos commercial, “Casket” aired during the Superbowl on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2010. The team created from the community of filmmakers at their church, Mosaic, in Whittier, Calif. with Pastor Erwin McManus entered Doritos’ fourth annual competition, “Crash the Super Bowl.” Their commercial “Casket” was selected as one of six finalists from more than 4,000 entries, winning $25,000, and was one of the three commercials aired during the first quarter of the Superbowl and will continue to air throughout the year nation wide.
“We were hopeful that we would be a finalist, but out of 4,000 plus entries, we just didn’t know,” Willson and Yao, both graduates of Biola’s Cinema and Media Arts program, wrote in an email to Biola before the commercial aired February 8. “When we found out we were in the top 6, we were ecstatic!”
There were 30-40 people who assisted in the making of the commercial with McManus who produced the film. Willson directed the film and Yao assisted on set as well as acted as editor.
"It's a miracle and a divine comedy that we've made it this far," McManus told USA Today. "I think it's God's sense of humor."
“Casket,” features a man who fakes his own funeral so he can watch the Super Bowl and eat Doritos undisturbed. The story was inspired by one of the crew member’s experience at a funeral where his deceased grandfather requested to be buried with a beer and cigarettes.
They filmed “Casket” in one day, however pre-production took three weeks prior to the film date, which was one week before the deadline creating a tight timeline for editing.
The three final commercials were chosen through an online voting system and were not made public until aired during the Super Bowl XLIV broadcast.
“We are both grateful to the Biola film program for the encouragement it gave us to continually improve our craft of telling stories that have an eternal significance,” said Yao.
“We are very grateful and excited for the opportunity to possibly air during the Super Bowl,” said Yao prior to the commercial airing. “The attention we are getting from this contest gives us greater influence on people’s lives for God’s kingdom through our work and relationships.”
Whittier Daily News was with the team as they watched fervently for the commercial to air during the commercial breaks of the first quarter. Read the article, “Pasadena and Whittier church's ad appears during Super Bowl.”
Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at email@example.com.
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu