LANSDALE >> A Lansdale native is among the finalists vying for a spot among this year’s Super Bowl commercials.
Genevieve Younce Zabielski and her husband, Scott Zabielski, had their commercial, “Middle Seat,” selected as one of 10 finalists in the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” competition this month. The creator of the winning advertisement will receive $1 million, a one-year consulting “dream job” with Universal Pictures and have their commercial air during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Genevieve was born and raised in Lansdale. She attended Corpus Christi Catholic School and Germantown Academy before moving away to attend University of Southern California (USC) where she met Scott and decided to remain on the West Coast.
The 30-second commercial was directed by Scott. It revolves around a man’s attempt to protect the empty middle seat next to him as other passengers board a plane and what happens when he uses Doritos to woo a woman who may be the perfect neighbor.
Genevieve said encouragement and support from her teachers and family played a large role in her attending USC and her interest in entertainment, which goes as far back as an assignment in eighth grade. For the assignment, she and her friends filed a video report; Genevieve said she remembers it was fun and different and they received a good grade.
Her husband is a director and executive producer for the show “Tosh.0” on Comedy Central. He said that he had been interested in doing commercials and was preparing to make a “spec” commercial — a sample commercial that he would have to finance himself — when a friend told him about the contest.
Though the deadline was approaching, he and Genevieve decided to go for it, and they were able to produce a commercial they were proud of in time to enter, she said.
“The shoot was incredible, it was just one of those things that totally fell together,” said Genevieve.
The commercial was truly a family affair with even their son, Jack, appearing on screen as the baby in the commercial’s big twist.
Scott and Genevieve said that they enjoy working together on these projects.
“We help each other out, even if we are not formally working together,” said Scott, who also revealed that the couple, and now the whole family, refer to themselves as “Team Z.”
Scott said that they wanted to do something with which viewers would identify.
“The kind of comedies we find the funniest are relatable,” he said.
According to Genevieve, the anxiety of an empty middle seat on a boarding plane is a feeling they know well.
“We travel all the time together,” said Genevieve.
They live in California, but frequently visit her parents, Pat and Jerry Younce, who still live in Lansdale, as well as Scott’s family in Chicago.
“The worst thing that could happen with the middle seat is someone sits down with a baby, but now that is us!” said Genevieve.
The Zabielskis are counting on hometown support to help push them over the top in the voting. According to the official website, four of the 10 finalists are international entries, and Scott pointed out that they have gotten a lot of attention.
“All the U.K. is coming out in support of their candidate,” he said.
They said they have been heartened by the reception from friends and family in the Lansdale area.
“People have been so supportive telling friends, sharing over Facebook,” said Genevieve.