84 Lumber may have won the Super Bowl. The construction company’s viral statement came via a highly-viewed commercial during the 51st annual championship game. The 90-second spot, titled “The Journey Begins,” depicted a Mexican mother and daughter’s long journey across the border to the United States, and it was a clear response to Donald Trump’s long-talked-about border wall.
The ad was only shown in part on Fox because it was deemed “too controversial for TV.” The network only allowed a 90-second portion of the 84 Lumber commercial to air and viewers were directed to “see the conclusion” at the 84 Lumber website where the full, six-minute version of the spot could be viewed. The company’s website ultimately crashed after a massive surge in traffic.
According to People, 84 Lumber execs revealed last month that the first cut of their ad was rejected by Fox for being “too political.” The original cut, which you can see below, included a massive wall—al la Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border—blocking the mother and daughter’s access to the United States. The onetime women forge on and find a set of doors allowing them entry to the country. The tagline for the ad is, “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign centered on his promise to construct a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Ahead of 84 Lumber’s commercial, the president reiterated his stance on homeland security.
While the president and his wife Melania were watching the Super Bowl from their Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump’s post-show tweets included congratulations to quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on yet another win. Then Trump posted another tweet to assure the country that “fake news” agencies are wrong and that people really do want border control.
“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting,” Trump posted shortly after the 84 Lumber commercial aired.
Trump has not directly referenced 84 Lumber’s Super Bowl ad, but it is clear that that border security was on his mind the morning after the big game. The POTUS, whose “Muslim ban” was recently road blocked by a federal judge, also made it clear that he calls his own shots.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Rob Shapiro, the chief client officer at Brunner, the agency that worked with 84 Lumber on the buzzy ad, said the commercial was purposely political and that it didn’t seem “right” to ignore the current conversations and controversies.
“Ignoring the border wall and the conversation around immigration that’s taking place in the media and at every kitchen table in America just didn’t seem right,” Shapiro said. “If everyone else is trying to avoid controversy, isn’t that the time when brands should take a stand for what they believe in?”
Shapiro said the meaning of the 84 Lumber ad was simple, “Our message is that America is the land of opportunity and 84 Lumber is the company of opportunity,” he said.
According to Fortune, marketing analyst predicted that airing a blatantly political ad during the Super Bowl was risky. In addition, during consumer tests before the event, the 84 Lumber commercial reportedly performed poorly. But the morning after the Super Bowl, the 84 Lumber commercial had reached its target audience as seen by the millions of views the ad has received.
84 Lumber isn’t the only company that took on immigration for the Super Bowl. Budweiser’s annual ad skipped the Clydesdales and instead focused on co-founder Adolphus Busch’s immigration journey to the States in the 19th century.
[Featured Image by Aude Guerrucci – Pool/Getty Images]