While much the nation was avoiding the Super Bowl like the plague, (a.k.a. the 2018 flu), those who did pay attention were particularly incensed by Dodge’s tone deaf advertising.
Reeling from backlash over the overly tragic Super Bowl commercials of the last few years, many advertisers opted for the wholesome, feel good, social justice-tinged vibe this year. While there were still plenty of goofy, fun commercials to be seen, (looking at you, Doritos), a great many of the spots airing last night brought us to a more somber, albeit optimistically reflective place.
This is surely just a reaction of corporations whose focus groups are a bit uneasy with the world at large in 2018, given the recent turmoil within the United States and beyond.
Dodge, however, may have overstepped their bounds by appropriating a Martin Luther King Jr. voiceover in an advertisement for their Ram series of trucks.
“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.
“The YouTube version of the commercial currently has about 3,000 dislikes and just 1,000 likes.
“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.”
Of course, the real hypocrisy of the moment was lost on many, as this particular speech by the great MLK was succinctly tied to his concerns over the carte blanche acceptance of unfettered capitalism – something that Dodge will never be able to distance themselves from.
The likely scenario for attempting to pass off such an ad was almost certainly concocted in an emergency meeting of board members who viewed the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia as a liability.
Heyer, who was struck and killed by a man driving a Dodge Challenger, presented a PR nightmare for the automobile giants, and this advertisement was likely the consensus decision as to what exactly to do about that indelible image burned into the minds of the American people.
As if to up the ante in their own obliviousness, Dodge also revealed another advertisement in which they depicted a fun loving group of ancient Norsemen riding around in the back of their pickups. Of course, those who have studied 20th century history will remember that the ancient Norse races were the archetypal genetic “Gods” that Adolph Hitler hoped to cultivate through the Holocaust and subsequent promotion of “Aryan” bloodlines.