Construction company 84 Lumber's Super Bowl spot, which was originally rejected by Fox for being too political, succeeded in putting the brand on the map. Now, the Pittsburgh-based company is back with a head-scratcher of an ad aimed at aspiring astronauts.
The 30-second film from agency Brunner, the same shop that made the Super Bowl ad, opens with a shot of an astronaut working in space. "In preparation for Man's journey to Mars, NASA requested applications for space-travel candidates," says the voiceover. "It takes ambition, a can-do attitude and a lot of moxy to be chosen for one of the most coveted positions in the universe."
The camera pulls back to reveal Mars in the background, and then quickly pans down to an 84 Lumber store. "Runners up, we invite you to apply to our management trainee program at 84 Lumber." The URL for the site to apply is shown at the bottom of the screen.
Viewers could be forgiven for wondering if the company is earnestly comparing the challenges of lumber-store management to interplanetary space travel. There's little indication that the spot is meant as anything less than a sincere appeal to aspiring astronauts.
But Rob Schapiro, chief creative officer of Brunner, says the company is in on the joke.
"We hold astronauts to a very high bar in terms of their courage and training and what they accomplish, but they also have an unconventional way of thinking, they're adventurous and they're problem solvers," he said. "We're looking for those kind of people as well."
"To compare ourselves to astronauts, the characteristics can be the same, but there was a little bit of tongue-in-cheek there," he said.
The 30-second spot will begin airing May 1, and target people under 30 with two to four years of post-high school education. It will air on FOX, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The campaign will also include paid social, search, native and display ads.
The campaign will run throughout spring and summer to capitalize on "prime recruiting season," said a spokesman for the brand. The company will also be opening several stores nationwide this year, he said, driving the need to train more managers.
"The Super Bowl was more about awareness," said Schapiro. "Job two is a direct appeal to recruit candidates."