Ram’s Super Bowl ad featuring a voice sample from Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t make everyone want to run out and buy a truck. Many people took to Twitter to express what they saw as a disrespectful use of the civil rights icon’s words and voice.
The King estate has historically been extremely guarded about use of Dr. King’s voice, or any footage of his speeches. To many people, using King’s speeches for a car ad against the backdrop of the NFL’s biggest game is a slap in the face.
Indeed, the King estate tweeted “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.”
A spokesperson for Ram parent FCA U.S. gave this statement to Adweek: “It is 50 years to the day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave such a tremendous speech about the value of service. Ram 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. We worked closely with the representatives of the Martin Luther King Jr. estate to receive the necessary approvals and estate representatives were a very important part of the creative process every step of the way.”