This Will Probably Be the Super Bowl’s Most Controversial Commercial
Beyond the ongoing politicization of the two teams competing in Sunday’s big game, this year’s Super Bowl commercial breaks also appear to hold more political messages than usual. Leading the charge in terms of politically relevant marketing is construction company 84 Lumber, which on Friday released the ad it plans to run during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The commercial is the first ever Super Bowl ad from the Pennsylvania-based company.
The 90-second ad is an immigrant tale that shows a long, difficult journey of a Mexican mother and her daughter as they appear to be attempting to make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. In January, Fox (FOX) reportedly rejected an earlier version of the commercial, called “The Journey Begins,” for being “too controversial.” As such, the commercial was tweaked and the version that will air on Sunday ends with a cliffhanger, as we don’t see their final destination.
On Friday, 84 Lumber directed viewers to visit the marketing campaign’s website on Sunday, Feb. 5, to see how the ad ends.
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The commercial seems to be a nod to the current debate over immigration in the U.S. and President Donald Trump’s promises to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump was often criticized during his successful presidential campaign for denigrating Mexican immigrants and for repeatedly claiming that he would force Mexico to pay for the border wall. (For what it’s worth, AdWeek raised the possibility that the commercial, and the initial rejection, may have been an attempt at stirring up controversy all along.)
The version of the commercial that will air on Fox on Sunday can be seen here:
The commercial for 84 Lumber is not the only Super Bowl ad this year to appear to take a political stance. Anheuser-Busch (BUD) has an ad that tells the story of the Budweiser brand’s immigrant co-founder, Adolphus Busch, though the company claims the commercial is not a political comment. Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s Audi (VLKAY) released its own Super Bowl ad this week, which features a fairly political message advocating for equal pay for women.
(For a look at Fortune‘s complete list of this year’s Super Bowl ads, click here.)
84 Lumber has not revealed exactly how much it paid for the space to air the 90-second ad, but host network Fox was reportedly charging more than $5 million for each 30-second slot of commercial time, which could put the construction company’s tab at north of $15 million. (And, that’s not even factoring in the additional amounts companies typically spend producing and promoting their high-profile Super Bowl ads.)