Whether or not the controversy was manufactured, 84 Lumber garnered its fair share of attention when Pittsburgh agency Brunner’s Super Bowl spot for the brand (its first) was rejected by Fox for an ending which referenced Trump’s proposed border wall.
The brand ran a 30-second version of the ad during the Big Game, which concluded by calling on viewers to head to its campaign microsite for the rest of the story and enough viewers followed through that the site crashed.
If you recall, the spot focuses around a mother and her young daughter making a perilous journey to the U.S. border. The 30-second spot that ran on Fox during the Super Bowl concluded before their arrival.
In the full-length version, the mother and daughter reach the border only to find a giant wall. In a payoff that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, it turns out the girl has been weaving an American flag out of those pieces of debris she’s been picking up along the way. She shows the flag to her mother and then, to both of their surprise, they reach a point in the wall where there is a door. As they walk through, the spot concludes with the message, “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”
The spot attracted quite a bit of attention for a brand that wasn’t on too many viewers’ radar before the big game. Beyond the rush of viewers crashing the microsite, “The Entire Journey” has already racked up over 3 million views on YouTube and is currently its number two trending video. It’s getting its fair share of praise, as well, topping Adweek’s list of “The 5 Best Ads of Super Bowl LI.”
“I think we’re all prepared for strong opinions from both sides of the aisle,” Brunner chief creative officer Rob Schapiro told Adweek. “And that’s OK. Those differences are what make us and this country great. And if you want to make sure everyone’s thinking about the housing industry and talking about your company, what better way to do that than at the Super Bowl?”
While the spot will undoubtedly anger some hyper-conservative viewers, as Audi’s message of gender equality and Budweiser’s pro immigration sentiment have, viewers may be surprised to learn that 84 Lumber owner and president Maggie Hardy Magerko actually voted for Donald Trump. She claims the image of the door came directly from a Trump quote in which he referenced a “big, beautiful door” in the wall for legal immigration. Detractors of the ad, however, claim it appears to depict illegal immigration.
“For Maggie, it’s never been about the wall. It’s always been about the door in the wall,” Schapiro told Adweek.
He added that it wouldn’t have made sense for the brand to ignore that it relies heavily on immigrant labor, stating, “It seems like everything has become a political conversation, whether we want it to be or not. And ignoring the conversation that’s taking place in the media and at every kitchen table in America just didn’t seem right.”