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Ad agency explains controversial ‘wall’ Super Bowl ad

84 Lumber | YOUTUBE

It’s already being touted as the most controversial ad to air during this year’s Super Bowl telecast.

And now the agency behind the ad for 84 Lumber, a Pennsylvania-based company, is explaining the ad in which a Mexican mother and her young daughter undertake a long, difficult trek over the course of several days only to reach a massive wall at the U.S. border. The ad’s ending was apparently “banned” by Fox, according to reports, and viewers were directed to watch the ending online. Traffic to the website was so intense the site crashed for a period of time.

In an interview with Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV, Brunnner Advertising chief creative officer Rob Shapiro (the agency behind the commercial) said “the ad isn’t about the wall, it’s about opportunity. … We view the message as very patriotic. The message is simple. In a land of opportunity, 84 Lumber is a company of opportunity.”

In a statement to the TV station, Maggie Hardie Magerko, the president and owner of 84 Lumber said:

“Ignoring the conversation that’s taking place in the media and at every kitchen table in America didn’t seem right. I believe America is the land of hope and opportunity for everyone, and that goes for all people, no matter who you are, what you believe, or where you’re from. And in this country, that should never be a controversial message.”

The lumber company’s original ad was rejected by Fox for being too political, because it included the image of a border wall, “a structure that may be too controversial at this time given the political promises of President Trump,” according to AdAge.

84 Lumber | YOUTUBE
84 Lumber | YOUTUBE

In a statement to, Shapiro noted the ad is also part of an employment recruitment campaign for the lumber company, which is looking to expand locations across the country:

“84 Lumber challenged us to ceate 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.”


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That same story also cites market research agency BrainJuicer’s consumer testing of the original ad (which did not score favorably), noting: “Building fame is a critical step for smaller brands to accelerate market share, and what better way to make Lumber84 [sic] famous than via Super Bowl advertising. Yet a word of caution, its imperative that in building reach, smaller brands keep the feeling that made their core constituents love them alive. Super Bowl audiences have historically not been kind to political nor exclusively negative creative.”