Dear Dodge Ram Trucks,
After viewing your Super Bowl commercial, we see what your goal was by focusing your commercial on Martin Luther King Jr. You wanted to show American spirit, by using the voice of an American hero with background images of hardworking people. Our question is, was it really appropriate to use one of our nation’s greatest activists to sell cars?
Martin Luther King’s message was to spread equality for all races and all people. If he were alive today he would not approve of this branding of his words meant to inspire justice, not to inspire a person’s taste in cars. It would never be Martin Luther King’s dream to drive a dodge ram car, his dream was to help inspire people and use his voice to spread the word about equality. A different version of the commercial was edited by critics and used a speech given by MLK that criticized consumer culture and the fact that we compare ourselves to others based on the things we have, associating them with status. This proves that King never would have supported this commercial.
The message of your commercial was unclear and using MLK’s speech was unrelated to selling a truck. There are several ways you could have solved this issue and still got the message that your trucks are built for greatness. If you were going to use MLK in the video your visuals should have represented what he stood for, which was freedom and rights for everyone. You should have put a disclaimer somewhere in the advertisement to indicate how MLK impacted the world and how his legacy should still live on. To completely avoid the issue a motivation song with the meaning of strength and power in the background could of just as easily gotten the point across to potential buyers who were watching the commercial. Next time you make any sort of advertisement for your company, make sure it gets reviewed and checked by your best media communications team, to ensure the best feedback from millions of watchers.