A day after its Super Bowl ad appeared, the Raleigh location of Pennsylvania-based 84 Lumber is hearing about the controversial commercial.
In the ad, called “The Journey Begins,” a Mexican mother and daughter, who appear to be headed to the United States, come up against a wall, similar to the one President Donald Trump says he will build along the border with Mexico.
Todd Meyer, manager of the Raleigh store who’s been with the company since 1999, said a few people have called about the commercial and he is getting “good and bad comments.”
“It’s going both ways,” he said of calls his store received Monday morning. “(The ad) is all about a journey people are taking, and I think our intention was not to offend anyone. It was to show that everyone’s got an opportunity with 84 Lumber, and it doesn’t matter what you look like or where you come from or what your journey looks like.
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“I think we wanted to advocate for hardworking people.”
As for people who were upset by the commercial, Meyer said it’s all politics.
“Unfortunately I think it’s turned into more of a political issue than anything,” he said.
The family-owned company, which supplies building materials for home construction and improvement projects, was even prompted to rework the commercial after Fox thought it was too controversial. The edit changed the wall to a barbed-wire fence. The unedited version of the commercial is available on the Journey84.com website.
“We all felt too strongly about the message to leave it on the editing room floor,” Amy Smiley, 84 Lumber’s director of marketing, told The Washington 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,” Rob Shapiro, the chief client officer at Brunner, the agency that worked with 84 Lumber to come up with the ad, told The Washington Post. “If everyone else is trying to avoid controversy, isn’t that the time when brands should take a stand for what they believe in?”
While the ad didn’t have the ending 84 Lumber wanted, the message hasn’t changed, Shapiro said.
“Our message is that America is the land of opportunity and 84 Lumber is the company of opportunity,” he said.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett