University of Illinois graduate Kristin Dehnert "went berserk" when her commercial for Doritos aired during the Super Bowl.
She and four other finalists watched the Super Bowl at a private party hosted by Doritos in Miami.
"Talk about the biggest adrenaline rush," she said.
The winning entry by Dale Backus was aired during the first quarter. After that was aired, company officials told the contestants the second-place winner was within a few hundred votes of the top commercial, prompting Doritos to purchase another advertising slot to air the second place commercial.
After that announcement, everyone was on their edge of their seats, she said.
Dehnert's "Check Out Girl" commercial aired during the second quarter.
"It's huge. There are people who direct commercials their whole lives and never have a commercial aired during the Super Bowl. We hit a grand slam," she said.
Since Dehnert was named one of the top five finalists, she has met with representatives of production companies in Los Angeles, where she lives. A location scout, Dehnert wants to make directing her new day job.
"Hopefully you will see more of my work out there," she said.
Doritos also told the top five finalists the company would air the commercials nationally over the next two months.
"It's pretty darn career-changing," Dehnert said. "For everyone involved, it's like a giant launchpad for their careers."
The spot was written and directed by Dehnert and produced by Dehnert's friend, Leann Emmert. Dehnert's commercial featured George Reddick as a customer buying several bags of Doritos and Stephanie Lesh-Farrell as the supermarket clerk.
Finalists won $10,000 and spent the week preceding the Super Bowl in Miami attending press events. They were treated to plenty of bags of Doritos and extras like Doritos jackets and Super Bowl backpacks.
"They rolled out the red carpet for us," Dehnert said.
The top five commercials can be viewed at www.crashthesuperbowl.com