Dove saved lots of money by not hiring pricey professionals and has received widespread publicity for championing the no-budget spots. But going the amateur route is not a sure thing, according to Jonathan Taplin, who produced “To Die For” and “Mean Streets.” He is a communications professor at the University of Southern California. Last year Chevrolet asked fans to write an ad to accompany music and pictures for a Tahoe SUV ad. “The environmentalists took over and completely trashed the car,” Taplin said. Some of those ads are still floating around YouTube. Doritos had more success during the Super Bowl with an amateur ad showing a driver distracted by a woman eating a bag of, you guessed it, Doritos. In the case of Dove, the soap maker has reaffirmed its message that “real beauty” comes in all shapes and sizes by singling out videos made by its customers. “Dove has already used real women in their campaign, so this is really the next step for Dove,” said spokeswoman Kathy O’Brien. The three finalists each won $4,000 and are being treated to a stay at the W Hotel in Westwood this weekend, a trip to a spa and a private Oscar-viewing party. The top prize is $8,500 and an invitation to a “high profile” Oscar after party. Miller’s competition for grand prize is an ad about skydiving made by Karen Blanchette of Lake Elsinore and an ad about dry skin made by Jannette Bloom of Boston. The winning ad may be aired during the awards show. Whether a shot at winning will gain Miller lasting fame is unclear, but she seems content with the attention she’s received so far. “The paparazzi have not staked out my house,” she said, “but I think it’s only a matter of time.” [email protected] (818) 713-3735160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SHERMAN OAKS – Movie stars will hold their breath Sunday night as Oscar envelopes are unsealed, but for Lindsay Miller, the suspense will come during the commercials. Miller, a 22-year-old Sherman Oaks resident, hopes to hear her name announced during a telecast break as the winner of an amateur soap commercial contest. Her 15-second ad for Dove Cream Oil Body Wash is one of three finalists. Miller’s bit celebrates women who can recognize their own beauty. To make her point, she filmed herself singing in the shower. “`Cause what’s better than knowing you’re beautiful, even when no one is looking?” Miller says as images flash of her belting out a song into a pink hairbrush. Before she came up with the idea, Miller, whose job as a production assistant ends Friday, asked herself when she feels most beautiful. “It really is not when someone honks at me on the street,” she said in a phone interview. “It’s when I’m dancing alone in my room like a lunatic.” She adapted the idea to the shower, a setting more natural for liquid soap than is a dance floor, and taped her one-woman a cappella show – suds and all. She shot the scene with her $400 Canon ZR 200 and edited it on her home computer using Final Cut Pro software. The contest, which drew 1.7 million viewers to Dove’s Web site and more than 1,000 entries, is something of a coup for the soap maker. Following in the footsteps of other national brands, Dove tapped into millions of people’s desire to become famous. These days, outside of being selected for “American Idol,” the quickest path to fame is YouTube. So enticing amateurs to make homemade videos promoting a product, called yoummercials, was not a stretch.