Super Bowl ads are the sole reason some people watch the Super Bowl, and for good reason. Super Bowl ads have been the debut for some of the most iconic American commercials. This year was no exception, as Jay Caruso pointed out earlier. Everyone expected the halftime performance with Lady Gaga to possibly be politically charged and spark controversy, but it wasn’t. At all.
In fact, it was the companies running commercials during the game that ended up being the most politically charged to outright inflammatory. As I wrote last week about the Anhueser Busch commercial for Budweiser — which told the truncated story of German immigrant, Adolphus Busch — taking a jab at America while telling the story was a poor way to make a point.
Who knew the Budweiser commercial and the ultimately non-existent controversial halftime show would be eclipsed in its activist political speech during the most-watched football game of the year would be a lumber company?
Here’s what viewers saw during the game last night:
A poor, Spanish speaking mother and her daughter leave their home and start on a journey. A journey that gets longer and longer and anyone can see the trajectory of where they’re likely headed. But the commercial ended midway through they’re journey and viewers were asked to go to the lumber company’s website.
The Journey84.com site crashed last night as people went to see what the rest of the commercial was. I finally was able to see it this morning and it was as terrible and inflammatory as I hoped it wasn’t.
Here’s the full ad, including what the NFL rightly deemed too controversial for television:
Following imagery of the mother asking a stranger for water for her daughter out of a water bottle and a cutaway of a lumberyard worker taking a drink from his own bottle of water — you know, to remind everyone that we’re all the same because the racist bigots who voted for Donald Trump don’t get that…or something — the pair make it to a wall. The wall. The horrible, terrible, no good wall erected by Donald J. Trump himself.
The mother is crying. The daughter is crying. They cannot pass illegally and unannounced into the United States. Don’t you feel terrible?
But, lo and behold, there is a door. A door made of, you guess it, golden lumber. And the words “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” Newsflash: That is true despite what this commercial would have you believe.
The wall is largely figurative, but there is absolutely an existing door into the U.S. that this mother and her daughter could take, called U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services. But legal immigration is not what 84 Lumber is advocating in this commercial.
The ad does what they wanted, it’s a story that tugs at everyone’s emotions. But immigration policy cannot and should not be subject to the whimsy of something as unreliable as human emotions. What is left out of the story is what happens after? Anything less than an open borders policy, that in reality is unsustainable, foolish and more likely to cause more domestic strife and racism, would be inadequate for the mother and daughter depicted.
A commercial that includes a wait at Customs and Immigration was a hurdle too high, apparently. Including that aspect would’ve made the commercial perfectly acceptable to the majority of Americans.
The commercial is outright inflammatory and the NFL was right in keeping it off the airwaves last night. Portraying a blatantly illegal act, that the majority of Americans are in agreement on, doesn’t belong in the Super Bowl, if it must be advocated for on television at all.