84 Lumber commercial resonates during Super Bowl LI


Photo credit: Gage McCall

Malyk Johnson

Local company, 84 Lumber, had a 90-second commercial that aired during Super Bowl LI created by Pittsburgh Advertising agency Brunner.

The goal of the commercial was to begin a year-long recruiting campaign for the building supplier 84 Lumber targeting men from the ages of 20-29.

“Our Industry is going through a period of extreme disruption. And I’ve always preferred to be the one doing the disrupting rather than the one being disrupted,” said Maggie Hardy Magerko, owner and president of 84 Lumber, in a press release. “But to do that we need to hire and train people differently. We need to cast a wider net and let the world know that 84 Lumber is a place for people who don’t always fit nicely into a box. We want people who are interested in creating their own path for themselves and for 84 Lumber.”

Brunner and 84 Lumber have had a partnership and worked together on and off for five years now. The Super Bowl commercial has been worked on for a few months. The commercial features a mother and a daughter and their journey to America.

“Anytime you’re building an ad, especially a Super Bowl ad, there is another level of expectation, another level of creativity and storytelling that you need to take too,” said Brunner’s Vice President Director of Public Relations, Steve Radick. “Because you’re in front of so many eyeballs and so many people actually watching the ad that you really want to put your best foot forward and stand apart… from the rest of the advertisers.”

84 Lumber plans to expand and open 20 more locations in 2017. Last year they opened less than 10 locations.

“(B)efore they could get into anything with recruitment, they had to tell people who they were. Here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, I mean, 84 Lumber branding has been well known for decades and everyone knows it, they see it driving down the road,” said Radick. “But when you start talking out west and in the Midwest that’s definitely not the case.”

The original version of the commercial was denied by Fox-Sports but Brunner worked with both 84 Lumber and Fox to ensure the commercial met both 84 Lumber and Fox’s message.

“We went into it knowing that the client was fully committed to this message of who they are and the types of people they were looking for,” said Radick. “And so we said, ‘What is everyone kind of talking about?’ ‘What are the cultural touch-stones we’re going around right now?’ The political environment has obviously colored everyone’s opinion about everything and so we felt like we needed to kind of tap into some of that agenda.”

This commercial was the first Super Bowl commercial developed by a Pittsburgh advertisement agency for a Pittsburgh-based company in almost 30 years.

“The Super Bowl really is the culmination of a few years now. About five to 10 years of a little bit of a momentum swing here in Pittsburgh of really great creative minds working on things,” said Radick. “So you’re seeing a lot of great work coming out of (Pittsburgh). You’ve got Highmark and American Eagle and PNC and you’ve got all these great companies now going out there more, now that the recession is over.”

The commercial aired right before halftime and is available online.