84 Lumber will be airing its first Super Bowl ad tonight, but what you’ll see on your television screens isn’t what the company initially planned to release.
According to CBS Pittsburgh, 84 Lumber was forced by Fox to make a change to their commercial because the original ad included a border wall. The ad follows a mother and daughter on their difficult journey to reach the US from Latin America. Once they reach the US, they hit a huge wall that prevents them from entering US territory.
After the cut was reported, Michael Brunner, the CEO of the advertising company behind the campaign, told CBS, “Simply put, that was a spot that they didn’t think they would be willing to run during the Super Bowl.” Brunner later added on, “There’s some elements in it that are… can be considered politically sensitive… They are the host. We’re paying the dollars, but they are the host.” Brunner says he created the commercial with three goals in mind: to generate awareness for 84 Lumber, to create pride in the workforce, and to fill jobs within the company.
In a recent article, AdWeek suggests that the company may have submitted a controversial political ad on purpose– they may have known it was going to get rejected, but knew that if that happened, people would talk. AdWeek writes, “Several industry veterans who spoke to Adweek on condition of anonymity believe the company and the agency intentionally created an ad that would be rejected by Fox in order to maximize press coverage and viewer attention.”
The 90-second ad will direct viewers online to see how the commercial’s story concludes. “Clearly, we would have liked to aired a 90-second spot start to finish, then you get all the eyeballs that are watching the Super Bowl. That’s a no-brainer. The changes that we’ve made, I would hope help it, but that was not part of the plan,” Brunner said.
According to the New York Post, 84 Lumber is the largest privately held construction materials company in the US, and its 2015 revenue estimates stand at $2.5 billion.
Anheuser-Busch’s ad, released this past Wednesday, also touches on the subject of immigration. It features the company’s German-born founder, Adolphus Busch, as he makes his way to America to pursue the American Dream.