University News

Students, Community Chip in to ‘Crash the Super Bowl’

Published: November 04, 2014 | Author: Jessica Young | Category: Academics

Students participate in the making of a Doritos commercial. The typical bag of chips curbs hunger and stains fingers, but when you give Southern Utah University professor of communication Jon Smith a bag of Doritos, he attempts to “Crash the Super Bowl” and win $1 million.

With an idea in mind, Smith then employed the help of SUU professional in residence, Ellen Treanor, several communication students, and a handful of community members, all willing to chip in to create a Doritos commercial to possibly be aired during Super Bowl XLIX.

SUU students were then tasked with script writing, set and costume designing, casting, and choreographing, while Treanor directed the 30 second commercial, titled Triangle Power, that took them hours of free time outside of classes to craft a potentially award-winning commercial that is now being featured at

Vote the SUU produced Triangle Power commercial with five stars so each student, professor and cast member involved can win $1 million and give one person a dream job as a consultant at Universal Studios.

All within 30 seconds, the commercial begins with a high school physics class being taught by Matt Nickerson, SUU professor, and one of his students, Noah Strasmann, who is inspired when he hears his teacher say, “…triangles are bold. They are symbols of power, and represent manliness.”

This gives Noah the ability to stand up to a bully using the power of the Doritos triangle. Dancers flood the hallway celebrating the victory; even the physics teacher Nickerson receives a “celebrity guest” as part of the celebratory dance in the form of Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson.

"This was just awesome and what SUU is all about. Giving students a chance to do real things. Not just answer the questions at the back of the textbook,” Nickerson said.

Student Casey Velarde, senior communication student from Las Vegas, Nev. and production designer, agrees with Nickerson and adds, “Being a part of this gave me the experience of being on a real set, makes me want to get into the business even more.”

Smith, who initially began the project, said he started it to give his students a hands-on opportunity of a television production. He said, “Getting them behind the camera, writing the scripts and coordinating the set allows them to understand what it takes to produce a commercial and gives them the necessary skills.”

If the commercial ends up winning, Smith said he will share the $1 million prize with those who have assisted in the production but hopes to also help those students with paying back their student loans.

Thousands of entries have been submitted from across the nation in hopes to receive the $1 million prize and to have their work aired on national TV. Support your fellow Thunderbirds by voting for their video at Go to Highest Rated, and search Triangle Power, and then vote five stars for this extraordinary, and collaborative, production. 

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication