MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - National Civil Rights Museum joined the debate surrounding a controversial commercial that aired during Super Bowl LII.
Dodge Ram's advertisement used the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an effort to sell cars. It was a tactic that many people have criticized.
"The use of MLK to promote Ram trucks strikes many people as crass and inappropriate," said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University.
However, the firm managing MLK's intellectual property, Intellectual Properties Management, said it approved the ad because it embodied King's philosophy.
National Civil Rights Museum Chief Marketing Officer Faith Morris said the advertisement did not offend museum leaders.
"We felt that it was respectful. We felt that it was inclusive. We felt that it encouraged a spirit of service. it wasn't an ad to sell the truck," Morris said. "Folks are very protective of Dr. King--very protective and rightfully so."
Morris said she feels the message was done in the right way. She felt like the commercial was less about advertising and more about evoking emotions.
"The people doing good were really the forefront of it," Morris said.
Morris said she expects to see more companies use MLK's words and likeness as we approach the 50th anniversary of his death.
"We just encourage them to make sure that if they do it, that they do put Dr. King and the message in the forefront, the brand in the background," Morris said.