Who knew a wood commercial would be the most woke?
If you were sober enough to pay attention during the Super Bowl on Sunday night, you likely noticed how many of the commercials took a sentimental, politically charged tone. From Budweiser’s immigration story to Airbnb’s ode to tolerance and Google’s celebration of diversity, politics colored the moments between touchdowns and kickoffs perhaps more than any other Super Bowl. It makes sense why advertisers would take this approach; 2016 was an emotional rollercoaster of a year no matter which political party you identify with.
However, Fox deemed one ad by 84 Lumber “too political” to air during its multimillion dollar slot. In its original form, the ad meant to show a Mexican mother and daughter taking an arduous journey toward the American border, only to be met by an imposing wall. Clearly, the ad’s creators intended to reference Donald Trump’s pledge to build a wall along the Mexican-American border and added an uplifting message at the end featuring a door that lets the mother and daughter into the country.
If you’re confused because you didn’t see any border walls while watching the Super Bowl, there’s a reason for that. Rob Shapiro, the chief client officer at Brunner ad agency, which helped 84 Lumber come up with the concept, told the The Washington Post, “Fox would not let us air ‘the wall.’” Instead, the end of the ad asked viewers to watch the complete version online at Journey84.com. Shapiro defended the original concept, telling The Post,
“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. If everyone else is trying to avoid controversy, isn’t that the time when brands should take a stand for what they believe in?”
Apparently, a pro-immigration message was too controversial for Fox executives, something 84 Lumber’s director of marketing Amy Smiley says she understands. “Of course we were disappointed, but ultimately, it’s their network and their decision,” Smiley told The Post. To appreciate the lumber company’s inclusive message without Fox’s edits, check out the complete ad above.