Youth sports umpire Alfred Martin fears he may never be able to officiate a kids’ baseball game again without someone asking him to lick the ball.
Martin, 49, of Central Islip, has joined 11 Port Washington fifth-graders and two of their dads in entering the annual “Crash the Super Bowl” homemade Doritos ad competition. In their 30-second spot, pitcher Dylan Forman, 10, is trying to strike out the batter to win the game. He crumples Doritos Nacho Cheese in his palm as if it’s pine tar. After he throws the strike, Martin takes the ball — and slides his tongue over the cheesy surface.
“I must have licked that baseball 75 to 100 times that day,” Martin says of the day the group filmed scenes. Dylan’s favorite part of the finished product? “The special effects. When the ball hit the mitt and Dorito mix came flying out. That was really cool.”
Now, the group’s entry, “Doritos Tar,” is posted on the competition website at CrashTheSuperBowl.doritos.com. Online voting happens in several phases. Until Nov. 17, viewers can award a video up to five stars. Sometime next week Doritos will select and notify about 30 semi-finalists, and the public can vote again in the next round, says Chris Yemma, a spokesman for the Doritos brand.
In addition to having the spot aired during the Super Bowl in 2015 — one of the most watched television events in the world — the winner will get a $1 million prize. The competition is stiff — last year the contest garnered more than 5,400 entries from 30 countries.
“Right now, everybody in town is talking about it, buzzing about it,” says Dylan’s dad, Eric. If the spot makes it to the final 30, the group will ramp up its social media campaign. “We’re going to go at it like we’re running for office,” Forman says.
The Port Washington group’s quest began during the Super Bowl this year, when Forman and his son, Dylan, were watching the 2014 winning commercial. “Every year I sit there and think, ‘I can do this,’” says Forman, who works in advertising.
Then came his eureka moment: He and Dylan were watching the April Yankees game when Michael Pineda got caught with pine tar hidden on his neck. “Pine tar is a substance people put on the ball to give it more movement,” Dylan says. “It’s illegal to put substances on the ball.”
Forman said to his son, “How funny would it be if you are pitching and instead of putting pine tar you put Doritos dust on your fingers?”
Forman says he knew that local baseball dad Matt Harris, whose son, Isaac, 10, plays the catcher in the video, owned his own ad agency in town and has directed TV commercials. Their partnership was born. Harris created the story boards and directed the film; Forman played team coach.
They recruited their sons, their sons’ friends, and Martin. They created a team called “North” with red uniforms and caps. The Port Washington community rallied around them — the Police Athletic League allowed them to film on the field, Arena Sports donated the baseball caps and Harbor Deli provided food the day of the shoot.
“I thought it was really fun to do the commercial and act, even though I’m not an actor,” Dylan says. But there were drawbacks. “It was a little hard and a little boring sitting around. The catcher and the batter were doing their scene and I had to sit in the clubhouse doing my homework.”
What if the spot doesn’t make it to the final 30?
“Then you know what? We had a valiant effort,” Forman says. “We did something great that the kids will remember forever.”