Published: Tue, February 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

MLK speech used in truck ad railed against consumerism and ads

MLK speech used in truck ad railed against consumerism and ads

An audience expected to top 100 million people watched a nail-biter contest that ended with a 41-33 victory for the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots. It was a tactic that many people have criticized. But the automaker fired back at their critics nearly immediately.

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis often provides a voice for Dr. King's messages. It was supposed to highlight the volunteer program Ram Nation.

However, not everyone was upset about the commercial. As one person put it, "These all began with an old man in a marketing meeting saying "woke' with air quotes".

Martin Luther King Jr. certainly had a dream, and it's safe to say that it didn't have anything to do with selling pickup trucks.

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The 30-second "The Road" spot introduces the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

Others posted messages of support for the advertisement on Dodge Ram's Facebook page.

"That was a disrespectful Ram commercial esp during #BlackHistoryMonth", someone tweeted. "Doesn't make them flawless, but I'm still grateful for the help". The ad shows people doing community service projects and urges people to be "great" by serving the greater good. Much of the reaction, though, amounted to a richly deserved thumbs-down. King said in the sermon. "You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve". "If you want to be recognized - wonderful", King says in the speech featured in the commercial. "I would have liked it better if they had said something like, 'This reminder of all that we can be brought to you by'".

Shortly after the ad ran Sunday night, Bernice King, who has been at odds with her brothers for years over profiting from their father's legacy, made it clear that neither she nor the King Center had anything to do with the ad.

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Later in the very same sermon, King warned against succumbing to slick advertisers, "those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion".

The sermon was Dr. King's "Drum Major Instinct" speech, given in Atlanta in 1968 two months before his assassination. It was only a year ago that we saw the fallout from Kendall's infamous "protest" commercial. It doesn't mean that corporations necessarily don't care about these efforts, but it does mean they find them marketable. "Three, we're talking about it right now". At the end of the day, it's on us as consumers to make that distinction.

"Neither @TheKingCenter nor @BerniceKing is the entity that approves the use of #MLK's words or imagery for use in merchandise, entertainment (movies, music, artwork, etc) or advertisement, including tonight's @Dodge #SuperBowl commercial", reads their tweet.

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