The Super Bowl – the biggest day for football – isn’t just centered on sports. As some gear up to strictly root for their teams (or root against a team), many others tune in because of the entertainment surrounding the event, like the halftime show or even the commercials. This makes the Super Bowl especially lucrative for advertisers, who hope to attract consumers during a broadcast that has drawn more than 100 million viewers every year since 2010. But in a year where politics are unavoidable, ads that touch on the xenophobia and hatred permeating the current Trump Administration wouldn’t be out of place. Unfortunately for one company, Fox shut down its attempt to use Super Bowl Sunday to comment on a divisive political issue.
According to the New York Times, Fox – the network airing this year’s game – considered 84 Lumber‘s ad too controversial. The clip tells the story of a mother and daughter trying to make it to the United States. After a treacherous trek – with weather, wildlife, and unforgiving natural conditions posing a threat – the two face a border wall. Because of Fox, the version that will air – and that is available on YouTube – introduces the mother and daughter on their journey with the wall edited out, but points viewers to a website where they can watch the conclusion.
The border wall was a key component of President Donald Trump’s campaign, when it was often accompanied by a promise that Mexico would pay for it. The president took less than a week to sign an executive order mandating construction of the wall, but as of now it’s unclear where the funds will come from.
The Super Bowl’s one of the most watched TV events of the year, with 189 million Americans expected to tune in, according to the National Retail Federation. Having an ad reach that many people doesn’t come cheap, with Fox reportedly seeking $5 million dollars or more for 30 seconds of air time, according to Variety.
Getting censored on your first attempt at a Super Bowl commercial isn’t the best news for a company that isn’t necessarily a household name, but the attention from having an ad that is “too controversial for TV” may be an even bigger boon than what the company expected. 84 Lumber is a supplier of building materials based in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania (yes, really). The full ad will be available at journey84.com on Super Bowl Sunday.
UPDATE 2/5/2017: The entire uncensored commercial is now available to watch on YouTube.