The ad is already creating controversy.
Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his sermon “The Drum Major Instinct.” It was one of the last speeches King delivered before his assassination on April 4, 1968. Ram uses the speech in its second Super Bowl LLI commercial to help sell pickup trucks, which some are finding a bit tone deaf.
The ad features King’s voiceover playing on top of various everyday Americans chopping wood, moving a house, and practicing football. There are teachers, mothers, soldiers, and firefighters. It’s a powerful ad that only briefly highlights Ram’s newest truck. The theme of the ad is certainly about America’s shared fight to be good to one another.
This is another ad that does more brand building than selling, like Jeep’s 2019 Cherokee advertisement that also aired during tonight’s Super Bowl. It’s about what the Ram brand means in America today.
Ram says the idea of being Built to Serve,” which is the name of the spot, supports a core belief of the Ram truck brand.
In a press release about the commercial, the automaker adds, “The heart of the 60-second spot is a speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered exactly 50 years ago today (February 4, 1968) that illustrates this value perfectly. The Ram Truck Brand believes in Dr. King’s notion that “everybody can be great because everybody can serve,” and Ram owners demonstrate this commitment every day in lending helping hands to their families, friends, and communities. The spot is comprised of 26 powerful images of those serving others, with Dr. King’s commanding voice calling for all of us to serve.”
Some will find co-opting King's words to sell pickups controversial, even if the message behind the ad is about shared values.
Source: Ram Trucks via YouTube