Ram Truck Super Bowl ad using MLK speech draws criticism

Faith Castro
February 6, 2018

People were thoroughly unimpressed, and quite frankly, disappointed that King's words were being used for such a materialistic, trivial sales pitch.

'We learned that as a volunteer group of Ram owners, they serve others through everything from natural disaster relief, to blood drives, to local community volunteer initiatives.

"NFL players blacklisted for kneeling during the national anthem resisting police brutality, but Dodge can use MLK's voice in an ad to sell trucks during the Super Bowl".

It's fine. I'm not crying after a Dodge Ram commercial.

The commercial puts Dr. King's words alongside working families and Ram trucks.

For that matter, Dr. King might well have been talking about a president a half-century in the future when he expounded on the need to rein in the drum major instinct, for otherwise it becomes "very dangerous" and "pernicious".

The "Built to serve" campaign used excerpts of a Martin Luther King Jr. sermon called "The Drum Major Instinct" from 50 years ago at an Atlanta church, but it didn't sit well with critics.

The ad for auto company Ram, has been criticised over its use of a Martin Luther King Jr speech.Dr King's estate approved the use of the speech for the commercial.

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Allieri said it was hard for him to imagine any scenario where using King's legacy to sell products would not cause a backlash. But the company said it worked in collaboration with Martin Luther King Jr.'s estate on the spot. "King concluded the sermon by imagining his own funeral, downplaying his famous achievements and emphasizing his heart to do right", Stanford's King Institue said of the sermon's themes.

"[Advertisers] have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying", he says. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. So if you make an income of five thousand dollars, your auto shouldn't cost more than about twenty-five hundred. Before you know it you're just buying that stuff.

Roland Martin provided some insight to this on Twitter, writing, "Dexter King runs the MLK Estate".

However, Dr King's daughter, Bernice King, distanced herself from the decision.

The commercial instantly sparked outrage as viewers took to social media to accuse Dodge of using the late civil rights leader's words to sell trucks.

Representatives from Dodge Ram and parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were not immediately available for comment.

King concludes: "I am sad to say that the nation in which we live is the supreme culprit".

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