Some of Super Bowl 51’s most intense behind-the-scenes drama started — as all good drama does — well before the game itself kicked off.
The building supply company 84 Lumber wanted to air a poignant, weighty commercial depicting a Mexican mother and daughter making their way through the desert, with the daughter collecting scraps of fabric as they traveled, so she could eventually stitch them together into an American flag.
Eventually, the pair ends up facing a giant wall. But instead of turning away, they find a door in the wall and walk through it, as text appears onscreen: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”
That’s about as sharp a jab at President Donald Trump’s campaign promise (and eventual executive order) to build a wall on the Mexican border as a Super Bowl commercial’s gonna deliver. But according to the ad agency behind the spot, Fox rejected the ad for being too overtly political.
So instead of airing the full 90-second ad before halftime as planned, 84 Lumber aired a shorter version that essentially ended with “To be continued” and directed people to the company’s website to see the full conclusion.
While the ad went up immediately on YouTube, 84 Lumber’s website at first buckled under the strain of curious millions trying to check it out. (A shame, given that the entire point of the commercial throwing to the website was to, you know, have people check out the website.)
Still: The ad now lives in full on the internet, and thus it will live forever. And it’s already resulted in plenty of confusion over 84 Lumber’s stance on immigration, as well as some blowback for the company. However, 84 Lumber — which identifies itself as a “2nd generation, woman-owned company” — isn’t backing down on its political stance.
@84LumberNews Your message is that you believe it's okay to illegally enter the US.— Nate (@nathandavid76) February 6, 2017
@nathandavid76 Hi Nate. We don't condone illegal immigration. The journey highlights the type of person we're looking for at 84 Lumber.— 84 Lumber Company (@84LumberNews) February 6, 2017
According to AdWeek, the company’s president, Maggie Hardy Magerko, voted for Trump, and the ad’s image of the door in the wall comes directly from Trump himself. She also stated to the Wall Street Journal that the commercial is about opportunity, implying that the “door” represents legal immigration:
“Even President Trump has said there should be a ‘big beautiful door in the wall so that people can come into this country legally.’ It’s not about the wall. It’s about the door in the wall. If people are willing to work hard and make this country better, that door should be open to them.”
You can watch “The Entire Journey” in the video above.