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Why a Little-Known Lumber Company Is Buying a Pricey 90-Second Spot for Its Super Bowl Debut

84 Lumber will promote job offerings

The campaign will appeal to men aged 20-29 seeking "a career rather than a job." 84 Lumber

Among the many familiar faces in Super Bowl LI, one newcomer looks to stand out with what is so far the game's only 90-second entry.

84 Lumber will join Febreze, Mr. Clean and GNC in making its debut during this year's event, and it is the only brand to purchase more than a minute of air time for a single spot.

Multiple sources have put the going rate for a 30-second ad at $5 million-plus, meaning that the building materials company will almost certainly pay more than $10 million for the national placement even after any discounts it may receive from Fox.

This news marks a major pivot for 84 Lumber, which spent only $736,000 on domestic marketing in all of 2015 according to Kantar Media.

The Pennsylvania-based company has chosen hometown agency Brunner of Pittsburgh to make the spot, which will air right before halftime for maximum visibility. Brunner will also handle media buying, social media, digital and public relations while Cole Webley—who has made ads for Lexus, Samsung, Delta and more—signed on to direct.

Not only will this year mark 84 Lumber's first appearance in a Super Bowl; it is also believed to be the first Big Game spot by a Pittsburgh agency in decades.

The purpose of the ad is to launch a year-long campaign focused on recruitment. Specifically, the company is targeting men aged 20 to 29 who are looking for long-term employment rather than contract jobs. No details regarding the creative are available at this time, but the messaging will focus on both entry-level work and training.

"Our industry is going through a period of extreme disruption. And I've always preferred to be the one doing the disrupting, rather than the one being disrupted," said owner and president Maggie Hardy Magerko in a statement. "But to do that, we need to hire and train people differently. We need to cast a wider net, and to let the world know that 84 Lumber is a place for people who don't always fit nicely into a box."

Steve Radick, vp and director of public relations at Brunner, added that the campaign aims to tell blue collar Americans who aspire to reach the managerial level that their work ethic and dedication is more important to 84 Lumber than their educational background.

84 may be new to the national advertising scene, but it includes some 250 locations across 30 states and made Forbes' 2016 list of "Largest Private Companies in America." It is also one of the biggest such businesses run by a woman; Hardy Magerko was chosen by her father at the age of 27 to lead the company he founded in 1956.

The company's moniker comes from its headquarters in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, a "small unincorporated census-designated place" named for the year (1884) in which it stopped going by Smithville.

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