People are not happy about Dodge’s Super Bowl Ad.
Why? It might have something to do with the somewhat racially charged atmosphere that has been following American football for the past year, what with all the kneeling over police brutality against African Americans and all. It might also have to do with the fact that Dodge used the words of a man who was famously against the “evils of capitalism” to sell their trucks. An African American man who gave his life fighting for racial equality.
Or maybe they’re just a little perturbed with the way America keeps getting portrayed as overcoming terrible adversity when there’s still an American territory that hasn’t had power restored to all its corners since suffering a hurricane a few months ago.
Whatever reason you find, and there are plenty, Dodge’s Super Bowl ad went over about as well as a fart in the middle of church.
First, take a look and see where you fall. It’s only a minute, so shouldn’t take long.
Just to recap, what you saw was the advertisement Dodge ran during the Super Bowl, featuring the recorded voice of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during one of his sermons while images of people doing hard work and being reunited with families were interspersed with a Dodge Ram 1500 splashing through mud puddles.
That sermon, by the way, was the “Drum Major Instinct” sermon delivered in Atlanta in 1968, two months before King was killed.
Now, let’s leave aside the fact that the excerpt was talking about how one achieves greatness by serving their fellow man, something many standing politicians could still learn. The fact that King was murdered by a racist underlies the growing concern that King’s legacy is continually white-washed and sanitized by corporate America, to say nothing of the fact King would almost certainly not appreciate his name being used to sell trucks.
Dodge, for their part, contend that they went through the proper channels and got the A-OK from King’s estate to use the sermon in their commercial.
Meanwhile, Bernice King, the late reverend's daughter, says that she was never contacted about the ad. And neither was The King Center, the largest archive of King’s works.
No.— Be A King (@BerniceKing) February 5, 2018
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.— The King Center (@TheKingCenter) February 5, 2018
Note to other car makers: leave the good reverend alone for a bit. It’s not a good time. It’s probably never a good time, but it’s certainly a bad time now.