While the Patriots had an emotional comeback victory as Tom Brady led his team back from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Falcons, 84 Lumber's story of a mom and daughter had its own patriotic win in one of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl commercial history.
You follow the Spanish-speaking pair through their hard desert journey and watch as the daughter collects scraps of different fabrics throughout their travels. But before you could reach the end, the commercial tells you to view the conclusion on 84 Lumber's website.
The omitted ending shows the mom and daughter reaching a huge wall at the border; the mom, feeling defeated, cries. But her daughter pulls out an American flag that she had been stitching together with the scraps she'd gathered during the journey and brings back hope. The two eventually find a giant door that was being built throughout the ad, which ends with the text, "The will to succeed is always welcome here."
The Pennsylvania-based building materials supply company didn't expect Fox to censor the $5 million ad's ending.
“I still can’t even understand why it was censored,” Maggie Hardy Magerko, 84 Lumber’s president and owner, told the New York Times in an interview before the Super Bowl. “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.”
But Fox deemed the ending with the wall, which President Donald Trump has promised to build, too controversial. The network's advertising guidelines online says advertisers cannot use the space to address "viewpoint or advocacy of controversial issues."
The National Football League also maintains the right to approve any ad.
“We review spots to ensure they do not violate our advertising policies,” Brian McCarthy, a league spokesman, told the New York Times in an email. “The ad that will air does not violate our policies.”
Magerko also said she voted for Trump and didn't realize immigration and the wall would be such a controversial topic: “We didn’t know this was going to be the hot topic six weeks ago. We knew it was a topic. We didn’t know it was the topic.”
But there's still great news for the second-generation woman-owned company. They got a hell of a lot of people curious enough about the ending to drive a ton of traffic to their website (so many that the site crashed)—and isn't that the point of an ad, anyway?
It also definitely helps that many viewers loved the message.