"The Year of the Farmer" 3 minute soliloquy spoken by Paul Harvey is a nostalgic tribute to the hard work and dedication of the "farmer" in all of us across America.
Last November in recognition of all military Ram created a moving tribute with musicians Jeff Coffin and Rod McGaha who combine America the Beautiful with Amazing Grace.
Their third ad, again anthemic but now highly controversial, ran during SuperBowl. It focuses on
a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It was bound to happen sooner or later in this campaign when you 'borrow' from big moments, moments intended to raise awareness and build integrity and make your heart beat a little bit stronger and faster by the powerful delivery of a message intended to build a people, that it will be abused when you have a campaign like Dodge Ram's that so leans on these messages as a way to shoehorn in a product.
Whoever the CD and ECD's were at this boutique agency Highdive on this Dodge Ram campaign could have and should have been prepared for just this type of trespass. Experience is what was lacking here. Discernment is what was lacking here. Taste and respect is what was lacking here
in proceeding with this ad for a truck. And that is what all of these ads are...ADS FOR A TRUCK.
The agency claims the King estate approved this ad. And Rev. King's image has been intercut on previous ads along with Mohammed Ali for Mercedes and General Motors. And who knows what was promised to the estate, what monies were dangled in front of this estate...we don't know what devils were placed on the shoulders of the protectors of the Reverend King Estate.
This was more than just quick cuts of a photographic image. This was completely retro fitting a moving speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered on Feb. 4, 1968. And I am sure Reverend King, if he were alive today, would NOT HAVE APPROVED of his powerful and impactful words being used to sell a truck or any product. Period.
This is sooooooo not in good taste. This is such a violation and bastardization of what Reverend King's speech was intended for. And that is the TRUE bottom line.
I know that Dodge means well. I know they are running these anthems on the borrowed interest of powerful American moments. And perhaps now they know just how far they have trod on sacred ground because this is too far. Too too far. And this agency, who probably felt they were on a roll,
took liberties, crossed boundaries and took advantage of their vantage campaign position.
When you take the words of a speech that is meant to empower a people and use it for commercial
gain....no matter how you try to dress it up like it really is about 'service' all you are doing is creating
a false front for selling. It's a bait and switch. It's a con.
But most importantly: it is DISRESPECTFUL to Reverend King, to his goals as a leader, to the people he was speaking to at the time and to his life's work and intentions as a leader.
This and all great moments in American history should be totally OFF LIMITS for selling anything.
Shame on you Highdive, shame on you Dodge Ram. And truly I question the ability of the Martin Luther King Jr. estate to have the ability to discern what constitutes dignity and what doesn't when it comes to protecting a great persons life's dedication. But trust me, this ad doesn't. Not for any amount of usage money.
This agency should be fired. And creative people need to know when they have crossed boundaries.
They should be fired. End of story.