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Score! Employee's Super Bowl ad wins $1 million prize

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While we spend the majority of our waking life at work, employees aren't just who they are in the office--they are people with passions and interests outside of the workplace as well. We love hearing about our employees' lives outside of work and like to celebrate their accomplishments in their personal life, like this one. Here's another guest blog post by Intel's Employee Communications Team member, Walden, as he goes behind the scenes of one of Sunday's Super Bowl commercials.

Raj, an Intel Arizona employee, enjoyed one heck of a Super Bowl Sunday. In an ad contest sponsored by Doritos, Raj and his small creative team beat out more than 5,400 entries from 30 nations—and scored a $1 million grand prize.

Raj’s hilarious 30-second spot, called “Time Machine”—he  was producer and co-writer—was viewed by more than 110 million people worldwide watching the big game and won the top prize as the audience favorite in pre-Super Bowl online voting. The runner-up won $50,000.

Calling Raj’s ad low-budget would be an exaggeration. At the high end. The ad’s main prop—this is not a spoiler—was an old cardboard box.

Within a day, “Time Machine” had gone viral. Raj heard that execs at HP played the ad to kick off a high-level meeting. In Rochester, New York, a pastor played “Time Machine” for his congregation of 1,000. Monday afternoon—between TV, radio, and newspaper interviews on the east coast—we caught up with Raj, whose day job is a systems analyst in Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, TMG.


Q. Wow! Congratulations!

Thank you! Thank you! I am kind of in disbelief. I can hardly believe what we did. From what I am reading, we are included in most of the top-5 Super Bowl spots.

Q. This is an amazing story.

Yes, it’s absolutely incredible. I am really having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I’m just really proud of what we did. People spend millions of dollars to do what we did. And we did it for $300.

Raj spent Monday doing press interviews on the U.S. East Coast, then was planning to visit his parents in the Baltimore, Maryland area to celebrate before returning to his Intel job in Arizona. Raj spent Monday doing press interviews on the U.S. East Coast, then was planning to visit his parents in the Baltimore, Maryland area to celebrate before returning to his Intel job in Arizona.

Q. This all happened pretty fast. I’m guessing that creating “Time Machine” took just a bit of creativity and teamwork?

Yeah, it starts with the genesis of an idea. The basic premise, the idea, came from our director, Ryan’s, 6-year-old son named Gavin. He's the little boy in the ad. He’s always asking his dad, “Can you build me something? Can you build me a time machine?” So that kind of got us started. And then we fleshed the story out together. Any time you collaborate, you gotta be willing to listen.

There were times, well, Ryan and I butted heads a lot. But he’d listen to me. And I’d listen to him. And you have to be willing to hear the other side. We were sitting on sofas and it was like, “Well, how about this?” and “How about that?” And sometimes you just have to be willing to acknowledge that the other person has a better idea than you.

Q. Alright, so you and your pals won $1 million. Did you learn anything along the way?

Yeah I did learn something. How do you get people to enroll in your idea? To rally around something. We wanted everyone who watched the ad online before the Super Bowl to be part of the team, not just to buy the product, but to be part of our team, and vote for us and the ad. We made sure we took people along on the ride with us!

Q. You only found out you’d won by watching the Super Bowl? They didn’t tell you in advance?

No. Doritos had us all in a skybox at the stadium with marketing and advertising execs. We all gathered when we knew the Doritos ad slot was coming up, which fortunately for us was the first commercial break. When I saw it, I started jumping and screaming! Our director, Ryan, who is a single dad and a “starving artist,” he was crying. I didn’t cry. I’ll just say I had something in my eye. It was just a really special moment.

Q. So who gets the million bucks?

Well there are about 8 of us. It’s not going to get exactly split. But everyone is getting compensated several factors above and beyond if we’d just paid them outright for their services. No one will be upset!

What a story! Congratulations to Raj and his team on an incredible accomplishment!