RAM truck Super Bowl commercial proves Rev. MLK Jr. right

Erica McKinnion

Super Bowl Sundays are known for families gathering around the television anxious to see their favorite team win. 

Between the anxiety, buffalo chicken dip and family members yelling at the television screen, the commercials normally keep the crowd sane during the brief intermissions. 

In this case, the commercials caused a bit of controversy and confusion, specifically the RAM truck Super Bowl commercial. 

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s voice was used from one of his famous sermons, “Drum Major Instinct,” as a voiceover in the commercial. 

In the sermon, King spoke on how commercialism has taken over the mindset of consumers of fifty years ago. 

King raved about how consumers believe in the necessity of buying a $6,000 car while maintaining a $5,000 mortgage to appear more appealing to society. 

King expressed in his sermon that everyone had a “desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first,” according to The New York Times(NYT). 

The problem with commercialism in 1968 does not seem that much different in 2018. 

Everyone wants to be a drum major for all the wrong reasons, whether it is to flash their latest clothing brand, their latest business project or even their latest car. 

People tend to get so caught up in the materials of the world that they forget about what is important, which is being a drum major who is using their instinct for real issues that affects the entire world. 

King’s message was to compare worthiness with being a service to others and apparently the RAM commercial believed to be providing the same message. 

What is ironic about the RAM truck commercial using Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s voice as a tool for better advertisement is that he is still proving his point. “The goal is to sell trucks and use King’s voice as pitchman,” according to The NYT. 

Using King’s voice was another way to attract the audience, because not only does his strong, powerful voice adhere to the benefit of Black History Month, but it also adheres to the blatant ignorance of commercialism. 

What people get confused with commercialism is the idea of persuasion and self-control.

“They have a way of saying things to you that kind of get you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you have to buy this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must buy this type of car...” King said in his speech.

Consumers are often persuaded into buying things they don’t need similar to the RAM truck Super Bowl commercial persuading consumers with King’s voice. 

It is a part of their strategy to make consumers believe they need an appealing truck, when what they really need is a reality check.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Slate.