Many Say Ram Truck Super Bowl Ad Exploited MLK, But His Estate Approved It
The Commercial Itself
On February 4, 1968, King delivered his “Drum Major Instinct” sermon. Exactly 50 years later, Ram Trucks used that sermon in a spot called “Built to Serve.”
As King’s prophetic voice rings out, moving images play out of average citizens helping others, loving on one another. Volunteers cleaning up after disaster, a volunteer handing out food, a fireman rescuing a child, Marines on the march, a football team kneeling in prayer. A teacher, a doctor, a returning soldier. Intercut are shots of Ram Trucks.
“Recognize,” King says, “that he who would be great among you shall be your servant. That’s the new definition of greatness. Given that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great.” The clip ends with King saying: “Everybody can be great. You only need a heart full of grace; soul generated by love” as the ad cuts to the graphic saying: “Built to Serve. Ram.”
Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »
Here is the commercial:
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow led the charge.