February 6, 2017 / 6:20 PM / 3 years ago

84 Lumber's controversial Super Bowl ad steals social media spotlight

NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Relatively unknown U.S. building materials supplier 84 Lumber set social media ablaze with its Super Bowl ad on a migrant Hispanic mother and daughter’s journey to the United States, a commercial initially rejected by Fox Television for being too controversial.

The TV version of the ad tapped into the political climate under U.S. President Donald Trump, showing portions of the difficult journey and asking viewers to watch the full version online.

The 90-second spot ended up crashing the company’s website during the National Football League championship game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The online version, about 195 seconds long, showed the mother and daughter arriving at a high wooden gate in a concrete wall. As they enter through the wall, the commercial ends with a tagline "The will to succeed is always welcome here." www.84lumber.com/

It was among Super Bowl ads that tackled Trump policies on immigration and other issues that have split the U.S. population.

84 Lumber was among the top 10 ads mentioned on Sunday and Monday, along with big names such as Coca Cola Co, Anheuser-Busch Budweiser and Pepsi, according to social data intelligence company Talkwalker. www.talkwalker.com/

On Monday, 84 Lumber was the most talked about subject on Facebook with over 100,000 mentions since Sunday evening. On YouTube, the hit was close to 3 million with 1 million views on the company’s Facebook page.

Many who commented on the commercial on YouTube linked the wall to the one proposed by Trump along the U.S.-Mexico border. While the majority of the comments praised 84 Lumber’s ad, some criticized it for being too pro-immigration.

84 Lumber was not immediately available for comment.

The commercial had to be reworked after Fox rejected an initial version that featured the border wall, according to the Brunner ad agency which created the spot for 84 lumber.

“We were creating a message that had a lot of symbolism in it. It’s very easy for it to be viewed in the way Fox chose to view it,” said Michael Brunner, chairman and CEO of Brunner.

“We had to alter the structure of what we were doing but we didn’t alter the meaning or the message.”

84 Lumber, headquartered in the town of Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, has over 250 stores across the United States with revenue of $2.5 billion in 2015, according to the company’s website.

Additional reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Andrew Hay

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