Super Bowl Ad Still Good
February 7, 2018
I cannot for the life of me figure out why everyone is freaking out over Ram’s use of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Speech in their Super Bowl Ad. For one the Ad had a good message. Two it followed a long line of nostalgia driven ads by Ram aimed at firing people up today using nostalgic motivation. And lastly the message was a good thing, and whether your selling a brand, or garnering support for a cause the message still matters.
The ad uses a sermon given by Dr. King exactly 50 years to the day earlier. So, on February 4th, 1968, those same words were uttered by Dr. King. That connection of dates has some significance and makes for an interesting perspective from which to share the speech. The controversy seems to be that a corporation used Dr. King’s speech to sell trucks, but why can’t a corporation, who paid for the rights share that message from Dr. King, use his message. They didn’t slander the message. They didn’t edit out of context, and through the add they were calling on people to serve. The add literally showed service members, firefighters, farmers, and others serving their communities. SO, who cares if they threw in a truck, but I digress. I think given the current state of the Country it was nice to see a Super Bowl ad that tried for some sense of depth.
Ram has been airing ads like this for some time, and no one has really complained. They aired ads that brought attention to wildfires in California, and during the ad they tried to sell trucks. The point is they also paid attention to things that matter. Companies want to take part in the social conversation of our history, and we do not have to deny them that just because they are selling a product. If Elon Musk chimed in on a social movement, natural disaster, or historical call to action while selling flamethrowers no one would lose their mind, and we shouldn’t. We should support having depth and conscience in our commercial conversations as well. On Veteran’s Day they honored Vets while selling trucks. They gave thanks on Thanksgiving while selling trucks. And, in this case they gave honor to a call to action to serve by Dr. King on the 50th anniversary of that same sermon, and they tried to sell trucks. It is after all a company. If you stop to think about it though, no one would have marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s words without Ram’s commercial, but I digress.
My last point is that the message matters. I don’t care if you are a politician, disabled veteran, CEO, doctor, lawyer, school secretary or corporation a call to serve is always a good thing. A call to serve is a service in it of itself, and this call to serve is no different. If you are a firefighter, veteran, or community volunteer you would wish more people would call others to serve and follow up on serving themselves. That message was good, and Ram’s commercial was good, and I can’t disagree with the sensitivity of the issue more. Just because somebody sells a product does not mean they cannot participate in the conversation that is our society, our nation, or are lives. In fact their platform makes it more important that they do.