There is no “secret sauce” when it comes to executing a successful social media campaign. There is, however, a way to measure ROI. Sometimes, success is discernible by your client winning a million bucks. Such was the case with Scott Zabielski’s “Middle Seat”, Grand Prize winner of Doritos’ 2015 Crash the Super Bowl Contest.

An experiment in creative grassroots social media promotion, this competition precluded the use of traditional PR or bought media. Using Twitter feeds, Instagram posts, Facebook and other platforms, this campaign relied heavily on wit and organic engagement. It’s one skill to speak in the voice of a brand; in this case, Hersh and Justo drew on the ability to speak to various audiences in THEIR language.

The engagement effort helped “Middle Seat” garner the most YouTube views of any finalist by Game Day (upwards of 500K), the most votes on the Doritos site, airplay during Super Bowl and $1 million for its creator. The exposure catapulted a previously unknown commercial director into an industry name. It also provided the capital needed to finance his first feature film.