February 6, 2017

KYLE SMITH: WHAT WAS 84 LUMBER THINKING WITH ITS SUPER BOWL AD?

The ad is an unmistakable invitation to lawbreaking from a building-supplies company that, because of the industry it represents, is strongly associated with illegal immigrants. A Pew survey conducted between 2007 and 2012 found that construction was the sector that employed the second-largest number of illegal immigrants, after the service industry.

The guy who made the ad all but admitted the purpose of the ad was to draw illegal immigrants to work for the company. Michael Brunner, the CEO of Brunnerworks, the agency that created the spot, said its purpose was threefold: To generate awareness of the company, create pride in its workforce and fill jobs. “We’ve got over 400 positions that we’re looking to fill at all levels, at all capacities,” Brunner told KDKA, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh.

Pride in the workforce? Why would the workforce of 84 Lumber be proud of prospective illegal immigrants unless a lot of illegal immigrants worked there? If it were staffed by legal residents of the U.S., wouldn’t its staffers be kind of resentful of people jumping the queue and breaking the law to get jobs there? And if the company is hiring, why skip over all of the Americans and green-card holders and reach out to unauthorized immigrants?

Allahpundit, who after viewing the ad writes, “Good lord almighty, is this some effective pro-amnesty schmaltz,” notes that Maggie Hardy Magerko, 84 Lumber’s CEO and the daughter of its founder, is having second thoughts after her ad’s “unexpectedly” negative response:

The owner of the company insists that she voted for Trump and that the ad was inspired by his campaign chatter about a “big beautiful door” in the border wall, but that reeks of damage control in light of the outcry this spot would surely cause on the right. I’d be mighty curious to know from the Border Patrol how many legal immigrants (on a “journey toward becoming legal American citizens”) whose visas and work permits are in order typically enter the United States by wandering through the desert towards the border instead of showing up at a point of entry and presenting their papers. These two are very obviously illegal immigrants.

Funny, she didn’t mention being a Trump supporter when quoted by her local Pittsburgh TV station on Friday in a segment on her ad. If she did, I can’t imagine that disclosure would end up on the cutting room floor of the station’s editing bay:

Growing up in South Jersey, I saw numerous 84 Lumber outlets in NJ and their home state of Pennsylvania (the “84” in their name comes from the name of an teeny-tiny unincorporated town near Pittsburgh), and there are a few branches near me now in Texas. They were a brand with which I never associated any negative or political connotations; they were always simply just there. But going political is guaranteed to bifurcate your audience, and it’s very difficult to put the genie back in the bottle afterwards. I hope there are enough people on the left side of aisle to keep them afloat after what will be perceived by many as their “Progressive” coming out party last night.

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