Pa. company's owner 'flabbergasted' over censorship of Super Bowl ad

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The rejected 90-second Super Bowl spot for 84 Lumber, created by the Pittsburgh-based agency Brunner, included images of immigrants unable to cross the border due to a wall. Fox approved a new version, which is set to air just before halftime

Nearly every year, some brands goes too far with their Super Bowl commercial, crafting a 30-second spot that's deemed too sexy, provocative or offensive to air. In some cases, companies do this intentionally to garner more attention than a spot would’ve otherwise received. 

But in the case of first-time Super Bowl advertiser 84 Lumber, it was a political message that was rejected for being “too controversial.”

The 90-second spot, created by the Pittsburgh-based agency Brunner, included images of immigrants unable to cross the border due to a wall, according to a story in Campaign, a trade publication that covers the communications industry.

"Fox rejected our original commercial because they determined that some of the imagery, including 'the wall' would be too controversial," CEO Michael Brunner said in a statement. "So we went back and revised the spot to make it acceptable to them."

According to Brunner, Fox approved the new version, which aired just before halftime at an estimated cost of $15 million. The new ad shows a Mexican woman and her daughter making a trip by foot across Mexico. 

During halftime, 84 Lumber shared the full, uncut ad online: 

 

“I still can’t even understand why it was censored,” Maggie Hardy Magerko, 84 Lumber’s president and owner, said in an interview this week, according to the New York Times. “In fact, I’m flabbergasted by that in today’s day and age. It’s not pornographic, it’s not immoral, it’s not racist.”

84 Lumber, based in Eighty Four, Pa., said the campaign will kick off a national recruiting campaign to help its current workforce of 5,100 employees grow.

“For 60 years, this has been a company defined by its people, entrepreneurs who see opportunity where others don’t,” Magerko said. “We want the world to know 84 Lumber is the place for people who don’t always fit nicely into a box.”

“While the full story will no longer be told on TV at the Super Bowl, we all believe too strongly in that message to leave it on the editing room floor," said Brunner.