The outrage machine has a new target.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots played a classic Super Bowl, but that wasn’t the only big story.
One truck commercial sent twitter into absolute rage.
Dodge Ram sponsored an ad that featured a Martin Luther King speech, which received a wave of backlash.
Twitter users, including Martin Luther King’s youngest daughter, were seemingly not pleased when Ram used a King quote during their Super Bowl LII advertisement to sell trucks.
During the advertisement, King’s 1968 “Drum Major Instinct” speech played over footage of different Americans having happy moments and working hard to accomplish goals with the help of Ram’s trucks.
In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ram truck owners also believe in a life of serving others. They serve because they’re driven by a higher calling. They serve because they feel a shared responsibility and commitment to their family and community. They serve because they’re men and women of their word.
As reported by HuffPost, “Just after the words ‘a new definition of greatness,’ a Ram truck comes coursing through mud and water in loving slo-mo, and it becomes clear what this video is actually about,” while the advertisement “ends with a still that reads, ‘Built to serve: Ram.’”
Twitter users, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), quickly criticized the use of King’s speech to advertise and ultimately sell trucks.
After the civil rights leader’s youngest daughter Bernice King was asked whether she and her siblings approved the commercial, she replied, “No,” and the King Center, established by King’s wife Coretta Scott King, also distanced themselves from the advert.
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.
However Martin Luther King Jr’s estate, a different entity, reportedly did approve Ram’s use of the speech.
In a statement, Eric D. Tidwell, the managing director of Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., who exclusively license King’s estate, claimed they agreed to license Ram the speech because “the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy.”
“When Ram approached the King Estate with the idea of featuring Dr. King’s voice in a new ‘Built To Serve’ commercial, we were pleasantly surprised at the existence of the Ram Nation volunteers and their efforts,” he proclaimed. “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.”
“Once the final creative was presented for approval, it was reviewed to ensure it met our standard integrity clearances,” continued Tidwell. “We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s ‘Built To Serve’ Super Bowl program.”
Regardless of one’s opinions on the propriety of the ad, the speech and the message behind it are great, and the outrage is unwarranted.
Unfortunately outrage culture dominates social media.