It's been a week since the Super Bowl, but there are still ripple effects coming from The 84 Lumber Spot, including the revelation that the CEO of Lumber 84 is a Trump supporter. But while we can chat about politics and write think pieces all day, we thought it might be nice to chat with the agency about it. So here is an email Q&A we did with Brunner's CEO, Rob Schapiro about the spot that got everyone talking, The Steelers' Mean Joe Greene, and my home town, Pittsburgh.
Adland: What motivated 84 Lumber's decision to run their first super bowl spot?
84 Lumber is well known in the building materials industry and areas where they have stores. But, the company has aggressive plans for expansion in 2017 and is looking to recruit new talent. So during the Super Bowl 84 Lumber wanted to share a message with the entire country, on the biggest stage. A patriotic message that says in this land of opportunity, they are a company of opportunity.
To put this work into context, when did creative receive the brief?
Early December. Had to allow as much time as possible to produce the winner properly.
The past election cycle was especially divisive in many of the so-called “rust belt” states, states known for manufacturing. Was there any concern that this spot might be polarizing among what seems like your primary audience?
This is a conversation taking place in homes across America and it didn’t seem right to ignore those conversations. 84 Lumber respects all different points of view and understands people won’t always agree on every issue or statement. The symbolic and iconic image of light coming through the door is a beacon, like the Statue of Liberty’s torch, for people who seek an opportunity to work hard and succeed here.
What is your favorite super bowl ad of all time?
1984. Apple’s introduction of the Mac. The computer for the rest of us. I know it’s an obvious answer but it defined what a Super Bowl ad is. So cinematic. I mean, Ridley Scott.
What spot motivated you to get into advertising?
I have no idea. I guess I should say the Steeler’s Mean Joe Greene spot for Coke, right? I will say every now and then something comes along that motivates me to make better advertising. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice comes to mind. I hadn’t read about it. I was sitting on the sofa with my wife when on the television this guy in the shower comes on and starts talking…to my wife… “hello ladies”… and winds up sitting on a horse? I’d never seen anything like it. I loved it. And just about everything Wieden’s done for Old Spice since.
This spot puts Pittsburgh on the advertising map. What does a city like Pittsburgh offer that the larger cities (NY, Chicago, L.A.) don't?
Pittsburgh’s been getting all kinds of recognition thanks to Google, Apple and Uber, who’ve opened offices here to tap into the tremendous pool of talent. It’s a city made up of 90 neighborhoods. Each one is rich with its own vibe and culture and most are very affordable. Pittsburghers are friendly, almost to a fault. They blink their lights at you and invite you to turn left when they have the right of way. Pittsburghers have a strong work ethic. Guess that comes from back when they were forging steel.