A Pennsylvania-based construction company used its 90-second Super Bowl spot to send a powerful message about immigration.
84 Lumber aired an edited version of its commercial just before half-time during Sunday's game. The original version showed a Mexican mother and daughter's migration journey before coming face-to-face with a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
It was censored for being "too controversial," according to The New York Times.
The new ad, titled "A Journey Begins," showed the beginning of the pair's journey, and prompted viewers to visit the company's website to see how the story ends.
The biggest journey can begin with the smallest hope. Experience it 2.5.17 during halftime. pic.twitter.com/Xnimnrrd7g— 84 Lumber Company (@84LumberNews) February 1, 2017
Fox's online advertising guidelines state time cannot be sold for "viewpoint or advocacy of controversial issues."
“We really believe in the message behind the spot so strongly, and we didn’t want to leave it on the editing room floor,” Amy Smiley, 84 Lumber's marketing director, told Pittsburgh Business Times.
The company released the full original ad on its website at half-time.
Traffic to Journey 84 crashed the company's website shortly after the game, but viewers could still view the ad's ending on YouTube.
The version TV viewers saw “does not have the ending we originally wanted, but the message has not changed,”Rob Shapiro, chief client officer at ad agency Brunner, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Our message is that America is the land of opportunity and 84 Lumber is the company of opportunity.”
Some viewers have accused the ad of advocating for illegal immigration, but the company says that's not the case.
Filmmaker Cole Webley, who directed the spot, said in a video that he wanted to work with a company willing to speak out for the right thing, even if the message may be uncomfortable.
"In our industry, it's really rare to have a client put their name associated with such a bold statement," Webley said, in a video posted to 84 Lumber's Facebook page.
The statement was an expensive one.
According to Ad Week, 30-second Super Bowl commercial slots went for US$5 million this year, meaning 84 Lumber may have paid $15 million for a single video after spending just $736,000 on marketing for the entirety of 2015.
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