Did the Ram Truck Super Bowl ad with MLK's voice go too far?

Dodge is under fire for a Super Bowl ad featuring the voice of Martin Luther King Jr.

The commercial, that runs just over minute, shows Dodge Ram Truck owners using their vehicles doing acts of kindness as a speech King delivered on February 4, 1968 plays in the background.


Official Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. | Built to Serve

"In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dodge truck owners also believe in a life of serving others," the company said on YouTube. "They serve because they’re driven by a higher calling. They serve because they feel a shared responsibility and commitment to their family and community."

Backlash was swift as social media gave a negative review accusing Ram of misusing King's voice for financial gain.

"Neither The King Center nor Bernice King is the entity that approves the use of MLK’s words or imagery for use in merchandise, entertainment (movies, music, artwork, etc) or advertisement, including tonight’s Dodge Super Bowl commercial," the King Center.



Reports indicate that King's son, Dexter, was the one who approved the use of his father's voice in the commercial.

"We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King's philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others," he said. "Thus we decided to be a part of Ram's 'Built To Serve' Super Bowl program."

Reader poll

Did Dodge's Super Bowl ad using MLK's voice go to far?

  • Yes 75%
  • No 25%

8 total votes.