One Super Bowl Commercial Has Kicked Up a Firestorm — Here’s Why

Feb 5, 2018  •  Post A Comment

One Super Bowl commercial that has come under heavy fire since it aired during Sunday’s game is a Dodge Ram commercial, which you can watch below.

The New York Times reports that the spot generated criticism over its use of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the voice-over for the ad.

“The general sentiment: Did the company really just use Dr. King’s words about the value of service to sell trucks?” The Times reports. “The commercial showed scenes of people helping others while Dr. King extolled the virtues of service. At the end, the phrase “Built to Serve” was shown on the screen, along with the Ram logo.”

The ad notes that King’s words were spoken exactly 50 years before Sunday’s game, on Feb. 4, 1968. But many on social media felt the reference missed the mark.

Among the Twitter comments quoted in The Times:

  • “MLK wanted equal rights and for me to buy a Dodge Ram.”
  • “Black people cant kneel and play football but MLK should be used to sell trucks during the super bowl. Unbelievable.”

Said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management: “There’s so much emotion right now around race in this country that this was a high-risk move, and clearly it’s not going over very well.”

Here’s the ad …

One Comment

  1. Yeah, that ad showed poor judgment — as I watched it, I was wondering “Can they really be using an MLK speech to sell trucks?” Yes, they were.

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