There are very few people waking up the morning after Super Bowl LI feeling worse than anyone associated with the Atlanta Falcons. However, some of those are probably advertising executives for 84 Lumber.
The building materials giant is under fire after a commercial that aired during the game depicted a migrant family — mother and daughter — on a trek. The rest of the commercial, which KOKA-TV reported was deemed to be too controversial to be aired by Fox, showed the migrants being stopped by a border wall.
The full video, called “The Journey Home,” is available to watch online. In one scene, after the two reach the wall, the daughter takes out a ragged American flag from her backpack and holds it.
At the end, though, a door opens up — a not-too-subtle sign of just where 84 Lumber stands.
Take a look:
“It’s a big deal, something we’re excited about. There’s a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm,” said Michael Brunner, CEO of Brunnerworks, the company that came up with the campaign.
That excitement did not translate quite as well to social media:
Hey #84lumber: Cost to taxpayers each illegal alien: $35K per year. Put that in your lumber yard. See how many illegals buy your wood. Adios
— Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) February 6, 2017
— Carrie Welborn (@CarrieWelborn) February 6, 2017
— Trump2020#KAG (@16_our_movement) February 6, 2017
First, no matter what your feelings on illegal immigration are, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still illegal. In fact, the name ensures that’s pretty much tautological. As sympathetic as you may believe these individuals to be, let’s point out that they’re still committing a crime. And 84 Lumber is glamorizing that.
Second, I don’t think that this family is all that sympathetic. From the looks of things, the woman has marched her young daughter across the inhospitable desert with little protection against the elements. That’s good parenting? In the country they’re trying to enter illegally, forcing your kid to embark on a dangerous march across an arid wasteland will typically end with you getting a series of uncomfortable interviews with a local child services office — if not locked up.
Like it or not, 84 Lumber unwittingly showed the ugly realities behind illegal immigration. Many illegal immigrants are smuggled into this nation under almost inhuman conditions, and many die because of it. Is this what 84 Lumber thinks will move product?
Academics and graphic designers may love this ad. Odds are, however, they won’t be buying too much lumber anytime soon. Let’s see how this goes over with 84 Lumber’s clientele and then see just how successful it was. My guess, by the reaction, is that this won’t be the only bad morning these executives are going to be having because of this ad.
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