This piece by BEH co-editor Chris MacDonald examines the controversy over the Super Bowl ad for Ram Trucks that featured a recorded speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. What the commentary skips over is the question of whether people being offended by an ad is sufficient to make the ad unethical. Is offending people unethical, or merely unwise? Because if it is merely unwise, then there is perhaps a calculation being made: the ad will irritate some people, but—if it’s a good ad—win the company more customers than it loses them.
LINK: Some things are just out of bounds for marketing purposes. (by Chris MacDonald for Canadian Business)
A lot of people are referring to the ad, and its use of King’s voice to sell trucks, as “tone deaf.” Some on Twitter were merely “disappointed.” Some referred to it as being in “really poor taste” and “insulting” and even “exploitative.” Others referred to it as an act of appropriation. A number mentioned the irony of celebrating a black civil rights activist during the Super Bowl, given that a black football player—Colin Kaepernick—has effectively been blackballed for his activism….
What do you think?