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Astoria resident gets free trip to Super Bowl, chance to win $1 million

Jan. 10, 2015 By Michael Florio

A 25-year-old Astoria resident will be attending the Super Bowl in Arizona with hopes of winning one million dollars.

Alex Pepper is a finalist in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest, where commercials produced by contestants that advertise the popular chips are entered for a chance to be aired during the Super Bowl.

Pepper is one of 10 finalists in the running for the million dollar grand prize. Along with the $1 million check, the winner will receive the opportunity to be a creative consultant with Universal Pictures in area of his or her choosing.

The grand prize winner is selected based on the number of votes he or she gets from fans who go to the site where all the commercials can be viewed. Fans can vote on, once per day, per device, until January 28th.

The runner up, which is selected by the sponsors—Frito-Lay, will receive $50,000. Both commercials will be aired during the Super Bowl.

Pepper, who will be flown out to watch the Super Bowl in a private box with the other finalists and actress Elizabeth Banks, will not know the winning commercial until it airs during the game.

“I am going to be incredibly nervous. It’s going to be hard to watch the actual game,” he said, while waiting to see the winning commercial air. “Knowing your life can change at any second would make anyone antsy.”

The commercial, titled, “What Could Go Wrong” features Pepper in his apartment talking to a friend who is eating a bag of Doritos.

Pepper’s friend encourages him to talk to “the hottie from 3B,” who is on the roof, by telling him to bring the bag of chips and saying “what could go wrong?”

But everything does go wrong. He entices the ‘hottie’ with the Doritos and she then asks Pepper to dance with her. While dancing, he throws the woman up in the air like a ballerina, but slips on the Doritos bag, which causes the girl to fall off the roof.

During the fall she shouts out “really?” at him. He then sneaks off the roof with the Doritos.

Pepper, who is a dancer, said the idea for the ad came from his biggest nightmare, which has always been dropping his partner. He decided to take that fear and turn it into something comical.

He shot the commercial on his apartment roof, which is off 30th Ave, near Mount Sinai Hospital. It only cost him $80 and about four hours to make the commercial. He said it took him about an hour to plan and write the commercial; two hours of filming at sunset; and about another hour of editing it.

“I entered the contest not expecting anything to come of it,” Pepper said. “It was more something we did for fun.”

However, to his great surprise, he received a call from Elizabeth Banks to let him know that his commercial was a finalist in the contest.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “To be talking to Elizabeth Banks and hearing that I made the top ten was surreal. I was never expecting to get anywhere this far.”

Pepper said he always looks forward to the Super Bowl– but more so for the commercials. He said the Doritos commercials have always stood out to him, but never in his wildest dreams did he imagine his own commercial would be in the running.

“The exposure as an actor is amazing, yet alone as a writer and director of a commercial airing during the Super Bowl,” he said. “This is a great opportunity.”

Pepper, who has been devoted to acting and dancing since he was 14, moved to Astoria from Maryland two years ago in hopes of breaking into the performing arts world. He attended Elon University in North Carolina where he majored in both musical theater and dance.

“Astoria is an incredible community and is up and coming in the arts and performing world,” he said. “I can’t wait to be representing Astoria at the Super Bowl.”

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