Gone are the days of talking babies and cute puppies filling screens across America during the breaks of Super Bowl Sunday. This year, the game day ads took a more serious turn. It seemed like almost every company got together for a big meeting and said we need to unify. Companies as different as Airbnb and Budweiser, each used its multimillion dollar platform to preach the importance of inclusivity and diversity in a more than tense political climate.
Most notably, 84 Lumber more directly took on the immigration issue. The company aired an ad showing a mother and her child trying to escape Mexico for a better life in the United States. The commercial abruptly ended and asked viewers to finish the video on its website. 84 Lumber did this because Fox deemed the remaining part of the ad’s content to be too controversial for television. The ad depicted President Trump’s border wall, however this wall had a great big door to allow the mother and her child in.
In a turn of events, it came out in the following days that the owner of 84 Lumber, Maggie Hardy Magerko, is actually a Trump supporter and did not mean to imply the company supported illegal immigration, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Instead, a company statement stated, “This door is a symbol of the doors that 84 Lumber opens for its employees, regardless of their race, ethnicity, background, or orientation.”
Regardless of the intent, 84 Lumber got a lot of buzz for its commercial. Within minutes, its website had over 300,000 visitors, according to the Washington Post.
According to stats from ListenFirst, a digital analytics company, the most common reaction to this ad on Facebook was “Love” and only 4.1% expressed “Hate.” However, there was a lot of backlash for these inclusive ads as well.
Particularly with Budweiser’s immigration story, many people were calling for a boycott, including conservative pundit, Joe Walsh.
Backlash and all, these ads sure got the attention they were seeking and maybe even changed the climate of Super Bowl ads for the future.