In a recent ad, Dodge used a speech from the legendary Civil Rights Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and people were NOT feeling it!
In the commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, we saw Dodge use audio clips of Dr. King's “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, claiming that their trucks were "built to serve" just like MLK mentioned in the speech. Alongside the audio clip, the ad gave various videos of athletes, soldiers, kids, and everyday workers serving in their roles, and, of course, the brand’s sturdy trucks. And, while it is a stirring sermon, did Dodge really use Dr. King to try to get some more sales?
Watch the controversial ad below….
While several might’ve applauded the use of Dr. King’s speech in the commercial, many more were opposed to the idea of Dodge using this great man’s words to sell their trucks, including his own daughter, Bernice King! It’s kind of twisted that the words of Dr. King, who actually spoke out against capitalism and advertising in that very speech, would be used in a car commercial.
And, while Dr. King, this question comes up too –– who in Dr. King’s estate authorized the use of this speech in the first place? Because it HAD to be approved by somebody to be played on a national television spot! And, according to an email to Slate from a rep from Ram Trucks, the brand “worked closely with the representatives of the Martin Luther King Jr. estate to receive the necessary approvals. Estate representatives were a very important part of the creative process.”
Well, folks have brought up the fact that Bernice, along with her brothers Martin III and Dexter, runs the estate together, and it’s possible that Bernice was outvoted by her brothers. Hmm. It’s just not cool that Dr. King’s memory and ideology would be sold out like this for some money. Granted, yes that’s Super Bowl money, and maybe just maybe the “estate” believed that they were doing a good thing since this was the 50th anniversary of this particular Dr. King speech. But his true meaning behind the speech definitely didn’t match the brand’s intentions which were to make more money behind these trucks. Sad...