If your one of the other 10 million people who helped break 84 Lumbar's website on Sunday you're living proof that "short and sweet" is not the only formula for creating content that people will watch, share, and search. If you missed or avoided the game and don't know what I'm talking about, a lumber company dropped a wopping 5 minute and 45 second narrative commercial on Sunday. Half of it "Contains content deemed too controversial for the original ad and banned from broadcast." Spoiler alert: The content deemed controversial is a large wall between America and Mexico. Their solution was to play half of it during the game and finish it with" see the rest of the story at Journey84.com.
Common practice these days would say, "there is no way your going to get many people to leave the content their focused on and go watch an additional 3 minutes of video," to which 84 Lumber replied, "If you lead them by the heart they will."
And that is what they did. The story they crafted was so compelling that droves of you left the game and headed over to their website, crashing the four large servers spread across the country several times.
The actresses that played the mother and daughter, who were cast in Mexico, played their rolls incredibly well. Some of the key elements to this story were, longing, empathy, teamwork, compassion, hope, heartache, and hard work. Those qualities hold two ideas...
1) they are incredibly humanizing. This is very important when telling a good story. You need to make your characters feel real. You need to make your audience feel like that's how they would react if they were in the story.
2) They are all qualities 84 Lumber is looking for in their employees. This ad's primary goal was to fill, job openings for upcoming expansion, but they wanted to make sure they got people that would fit their culture and their values. The "divisiveness" of this ad may actually prove to be a very effective pre-vetting process for employees.
Time will tell if this was an effective move or not. I believe it will be.
As far as "controversy" goes, that word often feels like a label designed to help us yell louder.
There is enough yelling at the Super Bowl. I'm thankful for a business who made 10 million of us stop and listen.