Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS Pimping King
by Rev. Irene Monroe
2018-05-23

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


With 2018 being the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, commemorations honoring the man will be taking place across the country. But who would think a Super Bowl ad with a King voiceover would be used to sell pickup trucks?

The pitch for Dodge Ram trucks' "Built To Serve" Volunteer Program did just that and provoked a fast and furious backlash on Twitter and a rebuke from the King Center.

Adding insult to injury, the commercial's narrative arc from beginning to end misappropriates MLK's essential message in his 1968 speech, "The Drum Major Instinct." The speech rails against materialism, using cars as a classic example.

"Do you ever see people buy cars that they can't even begin to buy in terms of their income? You've seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don't earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford," King said in his sermon.

Misrepresentation in commercial advertising involving Blacks, however, is not new. The exploitation of Black talent and the objectification of Black bodies and images to pad the pockets of profit-making corporations under the guise of helping underserved populations and communities is also not new.

For example, we all remember the 2017 Pepsi commercial fiasco starring Kendall Jenner. The ad preyed on racial and ethnic stereotypes in its attempt to expand the brand to a multicultural consumer base. Also, it misappropriated the iconic and viral photo of Ieshia Evans, the 28-year-old African-American mother who—in 2016, during a Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana—stunned the nation as well as the world when she silently walked to the front line of heavily armed police and offered her hands to be arrested. Jenner, however, with the reenactment of the white hero/rescuer trope, thwarts a possible riot in the commercial simply by offering a white cop a Pepsi.

The Dodge Ram trucks commercial is not so egregious. Ram Nation Volunteer Program's mission is "supposedly" not to sell their trucks but rather to highlight how its "Ram Truck owners are a special breed" serving all of humanity "from disaster relief to blood drives or even just cutting a neighbor's grass." Its webpage uses King's quote "Everybody can be great because everybody can serve" to bolster its claim. Although the ad was-tone deaf in mixing King's speech with its product promotion the Ram Nation Volunteer Program's, it didn't, however, undermine its goals—and that's to sell trucks.

The use of revered dead historical figures to pitch products has become a popular advertising strategy to instantly attract consumers' attention, given their high level of recognition—even if there's a backlash. In a 30-to 60-second television spot during an event like the Super Bowl ( which draws annually one of the largest viewerships in the country ), revered dead historical figures make the sale for commercial products because their iconic stature in society and the story behind their images easily resonate with viewers. For example, the 2012 Red Bull commercial mocking Jesus' miracle of walking on water received an outcry from Christians across the country, myself included. The energy-drink maker dropped the ad immediately, but its sales soared nonetheless.

While I find the Dodge Ram truck commercial disrespectful and dangerous in this political era of fake news, alternative facts and revisionist history, the commercialization of King suggests that the money that can be made from King is more important than his message. Sadly, the Ram Dodge Truck ad is not the first time King is repackaged to sell a product. In 2001, King's world-renowned "I Have a Dream" speech was used in print and TV for Alcatel Americas, a telecommunications and networking equipment company. Alcatel wanted to co-opt the speech to give it a Forrest Gump-like spin. Can you imagine?

When it comes to pimping a profit from King's legacy, however, the dilemma is aided by King's youngest son, Dexter. He treats his father's speeches as commercial literary works, charging license fees for their use. Regrettably, Dexter runs the intellectual properties management arm of the King Center, which appears not to distinguish between commercializing King from communicating King to younger and wider audiences. Its aim is for revenue maximization, by any means that presents itself. This time, it was the Dodge Ram truck ad.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NRA settles with 'The Bean' artist 2018-12-12 - The National Rifle Association ( NRA ) has agreed to remove an image of the Millennium Park sculpture "The Bean" from a 2017 ...


Gay News

Coming out to your kids in midlife 2018-12-12 - When the parents of Natalie Perry and her sister sat their girls down for a family meeting, Perry learned that their father, a ...


Gay News

With Kavanaugh on the court, what now for LGBTQ rights? 2018-12-12 - As the reality of a new and intensely conservative Supreme Court majority sinks in, some people are asking, "What's the use of fighting ...


Gay News

Trans author talks 'gender outlaws,'prison breaks in novel 2018-12-12 - The New York Times called Jordy Rosenberg's debut novel, Confessions of the Fox, "[a] mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, 18th-century London … a ...


Gay News

Windy City Times previews winter movies 2018-12-11 - Escape the cold weather by hitting the warm movie theater, where sunny comedies, strong superheroes and unbelievably true stories can all be seen ...


Gay News

NCLR Files Brief Highlighting Stories of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers 2018-12-07 - SAN FRANCISCO—The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) yesterday filed an amicus brief highlighting the stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers in ...


Gay News

Nigerian LGBT activist on his journey and fight for equal rights 2018-12-05 - Davis Mac-Iyalla has been an LGBT activist in his home country of Nigeria and across West Africa for decades, first with Changing Attitude ...


Gay News

Chicago sees fewest new HIV infections in decades 2018-12-05 - According to Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ), the City of Chicago saw 752 new HIV infections in 2017. "The Illinois ...


Gay News

World AIDS Day 2018 ramblings 2018-12-05 - I arrived at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, ready and eager to be honorably discharged, on March 18, 1980. I ...


Gay News

LETTER A matter of urgency 2018-12-05 - In recognition of World AIDS Day ( which took place Dec. 1 ) and to call public attention to the disproportionate impact of ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.