Each year, companies pay millions of dollars for advertising that will put their brand in front of upwards of 110 million viewers around the country. While some advertise all year long with smaller campaigns in addition to their Super Bowl campaign, however, others have invested almost all of their marketing budget into this one thirty, sixty or ninety second ad. This can be a risky venture for any company but add to the campaign a political message and you are playing with fire.
One such instance is the 84 Lumber commercial which has become the focus of debate, surpassing the Budweiser commercial which also touched on the issue of immigration. Whether you loved or hated the ninety second spot which ran the company a reportedly fifteen million dollars, the campaign was a success despite the instantaneous crashing of the url which the spot pointed you to in order to view the rest of the “journey” that Fox deemed too controversial to air.
How is something so controversial which is gaining scathing remarks a success you might wonder? Simple, because everyone is talking about the Pennsylvania based company that many had never heard of before the spot aired. Whether you love them or hate them, you now know who 84 Lumber is, a company that before the Super Bowl wasn’t widely known. If your views align with the company’s message, you will now be more inclined to shop there over the big box retailers such as Lowes and Home Depot.
Controversial subject matter used in advertising is nothing new to the airwaves. From same sex couples to interracial pairings, controversy can be a potent powder keg used to propel a brand or company to the top of the now trending newsfeed. According to The Atlantic, “Negative press coverage means little unless it has a profound effect on a company’s ability to do business either because of damage to its reputation or because it has spurred lawsuits “.
Will Budweiser and 84 Lumber’s bottom lines be severely impacted by their political controversy? That remains to be seen. The only thing for sure right now is, whether you love them or hate them, you’re talking about them. Which I call free advertising.