Socially conscious messaging requires a light touch and extensive testing in focus groups.
Several companies during the 2018 Super Bowl attempted to highlight their commitment to social justice and service. Verizon thanked first responders in its spot; Budweiser talked about providing water to those affected by natural disasters.
When Dodge used the voice of MLK to sell its truck, for many watching the game, it crossed a line.
The commercial showed scenes of people helping others while Dr. King extolled the virtues of service. At the end, the phrase “Built to Serve” was shown on the screen, along with the Ram logo.
“MLK wanted equal rights and for me to buy a Dodge Ram,” one Twitter user wrote. Another wrote: “Black people cant kneel and play football but MLK should be used to sell trucks during the super bowl. Unbelievable.”