Majority of Super Bowl LI commercials were shot in L.A.; 84 Lumber’s spot was filmed in Mexico

Quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers in a commercial for Buick that aired during the Super Bowl LI telecast. The spot filmed on the grounds of the Autry Museum in Los Angeles.
(Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for Buick)

The majority of commercials that aired during the recent Super Bowl LI telecast on Fox were shot in the Los Angeles area, with locations including the Autry Museum of the American West, El Camino College and a vacant hospital in Hawthorne.

But two of the game’s most talked-about spots didn’t shoot locally. The 84 Lumber commercial depicting a mother and daughter attempting to cross from Mexico to the U.S. was filmed south of the border, and Budweiser’s ad about its immigrant founder was shot in New Orleans.

FilmLA, the nonprofit group that oversees film permitting in the city and county, said in a new survey that about 54% of the 69 spots that aired nationally and regionally during the Feb. 5 telecast were shot in and around L.A. California hosted about 58% of all commercial spots for the big game.


Last year, L.A. accounted for 55% of Super Bowl commercials, according to FilmLA. The survey was conducted with the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers.

For 2016, total commercial production in L.A. fell 2.1% compared with 2015, dropping to 5,090 shoot days. But in the last five years, commercial shoot days have risen more than 25% in the L.A. region.

Unlike movies and certain TV shows, commercials don’t qualify for in-state tax incentives, according to the California Film Commission.

This year’s Super Bowl featured a come-from-behind victory by the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons, with a final score of 34-28. The Fox telecast drew an estimated 111.3 million viewers, down slightly from the 111.9 million who tuned in for the 2016 match on CBS.

This year’s Buick commercial featuring quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was shot near the Autry Museum in Griffith Park. Most of it was filmed on the Autry lawn to the south of the museum, a museum spokeswoman said.

A spot for Tide starring Terry Bradshaw filmed at El Camino College in Torrance for the stadium scenes that were designed to mimic the live Super Bowl broadcast, with some help from post-production visual effects. The commercial also filmed at a house in Pasadena where an on-the-run Bradshaw takes refuge with actor Jeffrey Tambor.

Turbo Tax filmed its Humpty-Dumpty commercial at the former Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center in Hawthorne, said Josh Lieberman, a production supervisor on the spot. The crew shot over the course of two days in November at the hospital, which closed more than a decade ago and now rents its facilities to production crews.

Budweiser’s commercial filmed in the New Orleans area for three days, said Christopher Sargent, who directed the spot. The ad depicts a young Adolphus Busch immigrating to the U.S. from Germany, facing insults from hostile Americans before traveling west and finding a welcoming community in St. Louis, where parent company Anheuser-Busch is currently headquartered.

The spot prompted a backlash on social media from some conservative critics who saw it as a thinly veiled attack on President Trump’s immigration policy. The company defended the commercial this month in a statement from Marcel Marcondes, vice president of marketing at Anheuser-Busch. “We created the Budweiser commercial to highlight the ambition of our founder, Adolphus Busch, and his unrelenting pursuit of the American dream,” Marcondes said.

Similar criticism was aimed at 84 Lumber’s immigration-themed commercial. The spot was filmed in Mexico for six days around the Puebla area, according to Preston Lee, executive producer and owner of the L.A.-based Sanctuary, the production company on the commercial.

The Super Bowl telecast aired a truncated form of the spot after Fox rejected a longer version that showed the mother and daughter encountering a border wall. (A six-minute version is available online.)

84 Lumber is a building supplies company based in western Pennsylvania.

On 84 Lumber’s Facebook page, company owner and President Maggie Hardy Magerko said in a statement this month that the commercial wasn’t “about my beliefs, who I voted for, or the wall.” She added that if Trump wants to “build a wall, then we want to make sure there is a door in that wall.”



9:45 a.m., Feb. 22: This article was updated with additional details provided by the production company Sanctuary.