84 Lumber Super Bowl ad

There are often debates over what’s acceptable for a TV ad, and that’s particularly true when it comes to the Super Bowl, which often sees plenty of ads trying to push the boundaries. According to Claire Atkinson of The New York Post, Fox has already asked for changes to a 90-second ad from building supply firm 84 Lumber, including nixing the border wall that was initially involved in the ad:

The spot, from 84 Lumber, a first time Super Bowl advertiser, was deemed by Fox to be too controversial, a spokesman for ad agency Brunner told The Post.

Fox declined to comment.

The two sides are said to be working on a compromise.

Here’s more on that rejection and on what might be next from Campaign‘s Kathryn Luttner, who first reported Fox’s decision to turn down this ad:

The script has been rejected by the network for being “too political,” according to sources close to the project.

The 90-second spot from Pittsburgh-based agency Brunner focuses on recruitment and includes images of immigrants unable to cross the border due to “the wall,” a flashpoint of debate during the 2016 presidential election.

“We’re still working through everything. There hasn’t been any sort of conclusion of what can and can’t go in,” said Steve Radick, vp, director of public relations and content integration, at Brunner.

But according to sources, director Cole Webley, who is on day three of a six-day shoot in Puebla, Mexico, is considering taking the wall out of the spot in order to appease Fox and directing football fans to the 84 Lumber website to watch the full film.

 According to a statement from 84 Lumber owner and president Maggie Hardy Magerko, the ad’s goal is to showcase that her company (which had revenues of about $2.5 billion last year) is “a place for people who don’t always fit nicely into a box. We want people interested in creating their own path.” It looks like their initial concept for this ad doesn’t fit neatly into Fox’s box, though, but hey, that will probably still work out for them.

As Atkinson notes, some “rejected” ad concepts in the past have never actually been intended for television, but only to garner media coverage when they’re shot down. We don’t know if that’s the case with this one, but the attention it’s receiving is definitely free press for 84 Lumber. It also sounds like the company and Fox will be able to come to a compromise on some version of this ad, so this probably isn’t a huge deal. Still, it’s interesting to hear Fox vetoing something for being “too political,” and that may give us a hint of what kind of commercials we will and won’t see during this year’s Super Bowl. Also interesting? This tidbit about 84 Lumber’s history in Atkinson’s story:

The founder of the 61-year-old supply company, Joseph A. Hardy, III, 94, has grown the business into the largest privately held building materials company in the US.

The company gets its name from the town where it is based: Eighty Four, Penn. It had revenues last year of about $2.5 billion.

Hardy is a colorful character with a taste for young wives. After his wife of 50 years died, the executive married a 23-year old manicurist in Las Vegas. He filed for divorce 107 days later.

To show he didn’t sour on marriage, seven years later, at age 92, Hardy walked down the aisle again — marrying a 22-year-old.

His daughter, Maggie Hardy Magerko, now runs the firm.

Well, it sounds like Hardy certainly has followed his own path, and it looks like his company’s continuing to do so. It will be interesting to see what the final version of their Super Bowl ad winds up being.

[The New York Post]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

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