Man’s Best Friend

Derek Leonidoff stars in “Man’s Best Friend,” the Doritos Super Bowl commercial created by alumnus Jonathan Friedman.

The last minute of the Super Bowl will be a defining moment for more than just the players of the reigning team, thanks to Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.

JMU alumnus Jonathan Friedman (’94) could be one of those people. 

The competition, which allows participants to submit homemade commercials for Doritos, will air the top two spots after the game.  

The only one of the five finalists from the East Coast, Friedman’s commercial cost only $20 to shoot. 

It’s an investment that’s paid off. As a finalist, Friedman has won $25,000 and a trip to the Super Bowl.

After his time at JMU as a communication sciences and disorders major, Friedman pursued video production and graphic design. He has since developed his own web and graphic design company, Frame 25 Productions, based in Virginia Beach.

In February, while Friedman watched the Super Bowl, the contest caught his eye. 

Called “Man’s Best Friend,” Friedman’s commercial has a twist. Instead of the usual animal trying to get the Doritos from a human, the animal is a culprit and uses the Doritos as a bribe to keep the human’s mouth shut. 

“I can’t remember anyone ever doing anything like that,” Friedman said. “As soon as I thought of the twist idea, the rest of it just kind of came into my head.” 

The 120-pound Great Dane used in the commercial, Huff, isn’t a Hollywood-trained animal, which proved to be difficult when filming.

“Huff looks intimidating but he’s actually a big baby,” Friedman said.

The commercial was filmed in Friedman’s neighbor’s yard. Shooting lasted about four to five hours, but editing took almost three weeks. 

“I’m very meticulous,” Friedman said. “I’d watch it again and again. Everything matters. A contest like this offers the chance to get noticed in the industry.” 

If Friedman places first on the USA Today ad meter, he will receive $1 million; second place receives $600,000 and third place receives $400,000. 

Friedman doesn’t want to focus too heavily on winning but does have high hopes.

“It would give me more freedom, and I’d definitely take a vacation,” he said. 

“Man’s Best Friend” can be seen on the contest’s website,, along with the other finalists’ commercials. After viewing each commercial online, viewers have a chance to vote for their favorite.


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