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Zachary Borst wins $25G, airtime during Super Bowl XLVI

Zachary Borst, 26, of Merrick, at the TriBeCa

Zachary Borst, 26, of Merrick, at the TriBeCa Film Festival in April 2011. Borst had a commercial he created for Chevrolet air during Super Bowl XLVI.

For one Long Islander, Super Bowl XLVI is already a win.

A commercial created by Zachary Borst, who lives in Merrick and grew up in Inwood, will represent Chevrolet during the big game.

Borst, 26, won the coveted ad spot -- and a $25,000 grand prize -- through the Chevrolet Route 66 video contest. His video was picked as the winner from about 200 submissions from around the world.

“I’m excited, overwhelmed, exhausted, ecstatic, in shock,” said Borst, who filmed his commercial, “Happy Grad,” in Floral Park in September.

The ad will run during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 and possibly during future programming, said Kevin Mayer, Chevrolet's director of advertising and sales promotion.

In “Happy Grad,” a high school graduate -- played by comedian Brett Siddell -- is overjoyed to see a bright yellow Chevy Camaro parked outside his house after graduation. In his excitement, the grad fails to notice his real gift, a mini-fridge, sitting beside the car. The Camaro belongs to a neighbor, who eventually drives off with it.

Borst said the concept came from his own experience.

He and his three older siblings all received cars from their father as graduation gifts, though in Borst’s case it was a used 1997 Mitsubshi Mirage with four different wheels.

“I loved that car,” he said. “It was my first car. So I started thinking about how cars impact your life. And then I thought, ‘Well, what if I only thought I was getting a car?’”

Mayer said Borst’s commercial met all the criteria for the company's Super Bowl spot.

“You have to put it in context of the Super Bowl,” he said. “It’s humorous, entertaining. It shows ‘Chevy Runs Deep,’ and passion for our brand in spades.”

Borst said he’s created a few commercials and done some odd jobs since graduating from film school almost two years ago, but he considered this contest a turning point in his career.

"It’s invaluable because it could just launch your whole career,” he said. “So many opportunities can open up.”

Borst said the first thing he’ll do with his prize money is compensate the many people who worked on the ad. After that, he’ll put it toward student loans.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I only graduated from grad school about a year and a half ago. So now I have grad school loans on top of undergrad loans. That much money really is a life changer.”

To administer the contest, Chevy worked with Mofilm, a global filmmaking and crowd-sourcing company that Borst said he’s been submitting work to for the past year. Representatives from Chevy narrowed the initial submissions down to 35.

The final 35 videos were also posted online so consumers could view and share them, Mayer said, and Borst’s video was a clear favorite.

“Sharing played a role,” Mayer said. “We wanted to put these out there to gauge consumer sentiment and Zach’s killed it.”

Borst, a Giants fan, said he’s always enjoyed watching the Super Bowl, but this year’s will be one to remember.

“If the Giants are in the Super Bowl and my spot is too, I might die,” he said. “They’ll need paramedics on standby.”

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