Brunner’s 2017 Super Bowl Ad for 84 Lumber About Immigration Is Just as Relevant Today

Controversial spot helped elevate shop to national prominence

Partners Rick Gardinier (l.), chief digital officer and Scott Morgan, president Brunner

Launched in 1989 as a small design firm, Brunner credits a willingness to embrace technology for its rise from relatively unknown to national prominence. But a provocative ad for 84 Lumber during Super Bowl LI certainly didn’t hurt. The ad focused on the hot-button topic of immigration, even referencing a wall (sound familiar?), and it drew so much attention that its accompanying website crashed.

But well before that pinnacle spot in the Big Game, the shop “saw the value in ‘big data’ when it wasn’t so big,” partner and president Scott Morgan said. He pointed to database marketing and digital interactive acquisitions in the 1990s, Brunner’s 2011 unveiling of emerging technology innovation studio BHiveLab and more recent forays into digital performance marketing and data analytics.

The agency is working on an inclusion campaign for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation. Other current clients include Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Musselman’s, Home Depot Rental and YellaWood. “Every agency you come across talks about blending creative and technology, and maybe even adding some data analytics into the mix,” partner and chief digital officer Rick Gardinier said.

Maybe Brunner can add predicting the future to its list of services, as its 2-year-old Super Bowl ad would be just as relevant today.

Brunner’s current campaign for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation aims to hose down discrimination by gender, sexual identity, nationality and more. One of its taglines claims, “Fires are indiscriminate. So are we.” Other elements of the campaign proclaim, “We promote anyone with the heart to answer the call” and “Fires don’t care if Spanish is your first language.”
This story first appeared in the Jan. 28, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.