84 Lumber and the big-budget Super Bowl ad to nowhere


Building supplies company 84 Lumber tackled a heap of controversy over the weekend with its carefully-crafted — yet inconclusive — 90-second Super Bowl ad featuring a Mexican mother and daughter embarking on a difficult journey north that left the viewer wondering where they ended up.

At the end of the ponderous tale, script appears on the screen: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”…

…84 Lumber wasn’t alone in the Super Bowl ad pile on. Many other big brands, from beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev to Audi, Airbnb and Kia autos used their Super Bowl time — at $5 million per 30 seconds — to break through. The challenge is to get viewers, whether they are chatting at a party or standing among a scrum at a bar, to pause and take notice — and maybe talk about it later.



The 84 Lumber ad was almost a short film. I thought it was very good, although I could not see the end until the next day. Their site was overloaded the night of the Super Bowl.


I thought it was a nice short film, though too long for an ad. I also think it is really stupid to engage in politics in an ad. It will gain little business from those like me who like it, but will put off those who view it with disdain.


I can’t imagine the target audience for lumber being very large except for construction companies. We had to repair our home following hurricane sandy. I don’t know what lumber company my contractor used.

It isn’t like Mr. Clean where we all need cleaners.


The Budweiser commercial was pure fiction. Adophus Busch did not come to America as a poor, destitute immigrant. In fact, his German family was quite wealthy.



I would imagine that the construction industry has less of a problem with illegals because it likely keeps wages down.


The market is huge. They are like a Home Depot. Many guys go to this type of store more than the grocery store.


I don’t know about that. We had to do major construction in our home due to sandy. Two major projects that we needed two different contractors. Both assured us that any worker they sent to us was on the payroll and did not use day laborers. It was true. Same crew came every day. One of the foremen was from Ecuador. He was also the person who tiled the bathroom and floor. He did exceptional work and had a true art. His sons as well.


I guess I didn’t phrase it correctly. I’m sure every builder or contractor would need lumber. I did as well, but I didn’t purchase it directly. The contractor did. So while I thought the ad was well made, I’m not the target audience.


I think when pnewton said 84 lumber was “like a Home Depot” she meant that they have a large consumer base as well as contractors. 84 lumber has always had a following with do-it-your-selfers. They have a niche where you can buy plans for a project and then a “kit” with all the materials you need to build it. They even sell kits to build your own house. :slight_smile:

But as for the commercial, I am not sure it was a good use of marketing dollars. If I hadn’t seen the press about the commercial, I wouldn’t have known it was for 84 Lumber.


I’ve never heard of 84 Lumber until I watched the Superbowl ad. I guess I’m not the handiest guy around. :blush:

I thought half the commercials were pushing some kind of political agenda. Corporate America has really bought into the cult of diversity, or is trying to market itself that way.


The 84 Lumber ad wasn’t too controversial…it was too LONG! :eek: :rolleyes:


Before I knew the length, or the message, I kept expecting the mother and son after less than 60 seconds of hardship, to cross a road into the parking lot of the local 84 Lumber, as customers. That would have been funnier and more effective.


Maybe 84 Lumber isn’t in your area. I don’t think they are as big as say Home Depot or Lowes. Their website says they operate in the range of 250 stores in 30 states.



Well, they probably do not view it as a cult because there would be little to gain and much to lose in identifying with it. But they probably perceive there is a market benefit to identifying with these political stands. They probably think more than half of their potential customers are sympathetic to that view. They may be wrong. Only time will tell.


There is only one.


Maybe their only purpose for a SB ad was not just to gain business for their bottom line profits but they actually care about other things for a change to make a point.


Did anyone see the Coca-Cola ad shortly before kickoff in pregame?

An ad for diversity and inclusion, showing the diversity of America and the singing of America the Beautiful.

Made me proud to be a Coca-Cola drinker already. My niece prefers Diet Pepsi but said she might have to switch to Coke Zero!



I am sure it was a politically motivated ad. That much was undisguised.


84 Lumber is primarily on the East Coast of the U.S. It is named for the town of Eighty Four, Pennsylvania (yes, that’s the name of the town) where it was founded.

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