84 Lumber Suits Up for Super Bowl With Controversial Ad Buy

Keep an eye on your TV just before halftime of Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Falcons and Patriots. That’s when 84 Lumber will air the following ad:

This isn’t the original version of the ad. For that, you’ll have to see 84 Lumber’s website during halftime of the big game. When 84 Lumber and their agency partner, Brunner, submitted the ad to Fox for airing during the Super Bowl it was deemed too controversial.

- Sponsor -

84 Lumber’s president and owner Maggie Hardy Magerko talked to the New York Times about the situation.

“I still can’t even understand why it was censored,” she told the Times. “In fact, I’m flabbergasted by that in today’s day and age. It’s not pornographic, it’s not immoral, it’s not racist.”

According to the New York Times story, Fox forced 84 Lumber to change the ad spot which was deemed too controversial because the ad depicts a Spanish-speaking mother and daughter who are on a journey and confront a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Fox’s advertising guidelines say it will not air ads “for viewpoint or advocacy of controversial issues,” in this case referring to President Trump’s executive order calling for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

So 84 Lumber was forced to change the ad. The new version of the ad, which will run just before halftime, will now feature just the journey of the mother and daughter but will omit the border wall. Instead, the web address Journey84.com appears on the screen to direct viewers online to see how the mother and daughter’s continues.

“It is well-known that President Donald Trump has taken a hard line on immigration and has promised to build a border wall that Mexico will pay for—so there’s little doubt this ad will stoke some fires on game day,” Business Insider reports. When Fox first rejected the ad, Brunner CEO Michael Brunner sent Business Insider the following statement: “84 Lumber challenged us to create a thought-provoking 90 second spot that would tell the world who 84 Lumber is and what they stand for–a company looking for people with grit, determination and heart, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like.”

Brunner said his company, and 84 Lumber, “believe too strongly in that message to leave it on the editing room floor,” so the decision was made to air a new version of the ad directing viewers to the website.

“The only building materials company advertising in Super Bowl LI, 84 Lumber is hoping to attract more of the nation’s most talented and ambitious people for its management trainee program,” Meredith Klein, a 84 Lumber public relations account supervisor said in an email. “84 Lumber hopes this spot is the rallying cry for the next generation of talent.”

According Ad Age, a 30-second Super Bowl spot is estimated to cost $5 million, so 94 Lumber’s 90-second video is a major play for the building supply company which had sales of around $2.5 billion in 2015. That year, 84 Lumber spent a total of $775,000 on measured media, Ad Age says.


Stay Updated

Get our email newsletter with LBM industry trends, data, new products, and best practices.