Last night during the Super Bowl, 84 Lumber aired part of a commercial about an immigrant mother and daughter on a journey to the border. It was somber and well-shot, and seemed more like a short film than an ad. The commercial was cut partway through, directing viewers to watch the rest of the commercial on journey24.com. The interest was so high that website crashed.
If you’re wondering why the full ad was so controversial for the Super Bowl, you can see the entire journey for yourself below. It’s even more political than you thought.
Yeah, they went there. Donald Trump’s border wall. Of course, this the doing of 84 Lumber, so the wall is open, albeit with a “big beautiful door”; still, it seems like a different one than the wall Trump intends to build with US funds. The ad ends on a high and hopeful note about welcoming those willing to work and sacrifice. You know, that good old fashioned American idea that seems so quaint these days--now it’s a slogan for a building materials supply company. (Capitalism. Ain’t that America? Yes, this is an ambivalent parenthetical.)
As pointed out by numerous people online, there might have been something conciliatory about the stuff surrounding the Super Bowl this year. Just consider the commercials, the pre-game, and the halftime show. There was an emphasis on inclusiveness and unity throughout. Black NFL Hall of Famers were spotlighted and honored, The Schuyler Sisters from Hamilton added sisterhood to their rendition of “America the Beautiful”, and Lady Gaga performed, which was like Prince playing the halftime show but 20 times queerer. Budweiser’s ad celebrated the company’s immigrant roots, KIA had Melissa McCarthy as a slapstick eco-champion, and Airbnb and Coca Cola took stances on diversity, immigration, and multiculturalism.
None of it was subversive. In the end, these were just ways to sell more sports and sugar and corporate things. I mean, gosh, some jamooks in the oil/petroleum industry shelled out good money to make fossil fuels seem hip and edgy--what the hell was that? But it was nice to see a few gestures toward higher ideals and a better tomorrow as one nation indivisible rather than a nation divided. Consider it a brief but welcome respite. And the game was good, too.
I suppose it says something when nods to good old American decency seem like radical action. We live in interesting times.[via 84 Lumber on YouTube]