As with every Super Bowl, many people tuned in to this year's match more
for the commercials and entertainment than for the game.
One of the most interesting Super Bowl commercials had nothing to do with
selling products or services. It was 84 Lumber's "Mother/Daughter" spot,
which aimed to help 84 Lumber recruit prospective employees.
That's right. It was a Super Bowl ad that promoted an organization's
Here's the spot that aired during the game:
Here's "The Entire Journey":
The spots point to a landing page
where prospective candidates can see "The Entire Journey" and learn more
about 84 Lumber through links to its social media channels and its
Glassdoor page. Prospective employees can fill out a short form to request
that a recruiter contact them.
It's an unusual approach, but it makes sense when you consider that 84
Lumber is opening 20 new stores in 2017 and
hiring "hundreds" of new employees. Although the employer brand angle is interesting enough, things got
really intriguing when the backlash began.
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Because the ad toed political lines (a mother and daughter are immigrating
to what appears to be the U.S., where they encounter a border wall), people
on both sides of the political aisle were bound to be upset.
There were comments about illegal immigrants possibly working for 84
There were comments about immigration policy:
There were even negative comments from people who refuse to do business
with the company because of the ad:
Overall, 84 Lumber handled the blowback well. It responded quickly with
consistent language. The company also responded to many negative remarks
that other organizations might not have had the stomach to handle.
A new twist came to light when it became public that 84 Lumber's CEO,
Maggie Hardy Magerko, is a Trump supporter. Again, 84 Lumber responded. It
put this statement at the top of its Twitter profile:
84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad is an interesting case study for two reasons:
1. It focuses on the employer brand:
We'll begin seeing more organizations investing in employer brand marketing
along with traditional recruiting efforts. This is a burgeoning sector of
social media marketing.
2. It highlights online crisis management with a political twist:
The ways organizations navigate dangerous political waters is a hot topic.
In this instance, 84 Lumber took a strong stand, and it held firm to that
position when the heat rose. Politics aside, we should applaud 84 Lumber
for that. I wish we saw more of that in corporate America. Who knows? Maybe
A version of this article originally appeared on