A Dodge Ram Super Bowl commercial that featured a speech made by the late Martin Luther King Jr. is not sitting well with viewers.
Many believed it was inappropriate to use the civil rights activist’s words in order to sell cars — including Dr. King’s youngest daughter, Bernice King.
“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,” his family wrote on Twitter via The King Center account.
Others also weighed in. “I think there are just some figures of history who are off-limits for commercials. Dr. King is one of them. #dodgeram #SuperBowl,” one person wrote. A second added: “Anybody else offended by the Dodge Ram commercial featuring Martin Luther King audio and the tag line is “built to serve”? #DodgeRam #SuperBowl2018.”
MLK actually gave the “Drum Major Instinct” sermon 50 years ago on February 4, 1968. “Recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant,” he says in the message. “That’s your new definition of greatness — it means that everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
At the end of the commercial, Dodge uses the tagline: “Built to Serve.”
Amid the backlash, Dodge released a statement about the matter, saying it was “honored to have the privilege of working with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. to celebrate those words during the largest TV viewing event annually.” The automaker also noted: “Estate representatives were a very important part of the creative process every step of the way.”
Watch the video above.
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