Dodge Super Bowl Ad Using Martin Luther King Jr’s Speech Sparks Backlash, His Estate Says It Was Fine
A Super Bowl ad for Dodge Ram trucks using one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last sermons drew pretty harsh backlash across social media.
The one-minute commercial featured King’s famous “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon he gave at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, just two months before he was assassinated.
The ad shows moments of struggle, such as a sweating man doing pushups, and moments of heroism, such as a firefighter carrying a boy outside a burning building.
It also shows a Dodge Ram truck transporting a church.
What the Super Bowl ad doesn’t include is the part from MLK’s sermon where he warns against the dangers of spending too much when buying a car.
“Do you ever see people buy cars that they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income? You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford,” MLK said in his sermon. “But it feeds a repressed ego. You know, economists tell us that your automobile should not cost more than half of your annual income. So if you make an income of $5,000, your car shouldn’t cost more than about $2,500. That’s just good economics.”
That’s a pretty big (and ironic) part of this particular sermon to omit, don’t you think?
Immediately after it aired, The King Center in Atlanta condemned the ad — asserting that neither the center nor King’s daughter, Bernice King, approved it.