Just before Lady Gaga performed during halftime at Super Bowl LI in Houston on Sunday night, an advertisement aired. A very politically charged advertisement.
Even given the number of advertisements that seem to have subliminal or outright political messages this year, this advertisement stuck out. In fact, the original version was deemed too political by Fox, the network airing the Super Bowl, who forced the company behind it, 84 Lumber, to edit it.
In the 90-second ad, a young Latina girl and her mother travel across the country, seemingly trying to enter the United States. The ad depicts the hardships and the difficulties the mother and daughter face in their travels, and ends ambiguously, with viewers being urged to “see the conclusion at Journey84.com.”
However, immediately after the ad aired Sunday, Journey84.com was inaccessible. The company seemed to acknowledge the problem on Twitter, but claimed the problem was resolved at 8:23 p.m. However, social media reports indicate the website was still unavailable for some time.
It is unclear whether a surge in web traffic caused the website to crash or there are other factors at play. However, the website went back up at around 8:45 p.m.
The full ad is also available on the company’s YouTube channel. The full ad shows the mother and child reaching the Mexican-American border only to be met by a border wall such as the one President Donald Trump has proposed. After a moment of despair, the two find a door, through which they walk into an uncertain future.
The initial advertisement was published online Thursday and has been viewed more than a million times. Reaction, however, has been mixed, with more than 2,500 people liking the video and more than 1,700 disliking it. But 84 Lumber has embraced the controversial aspect of the advertisement, placing a warning on its website before users watch the video: “Contains content deemed to controversial for TV.”
“I think we’re all prepared for strong opinions from both sides of the aisle,” the chief officer of the creative agency responsible for the ad told Ad Week. “And that’s OK. Those differences are what make us and this country great. And if you want to make sure everyone’s thinking about the housing industry and talking about your company, what better way to do that than at the Super Bowl?”