Harsh Reaction to MLK RAM Super Bowl Commercial

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We decided the reaction to the controversial RAM commercial that featured the MLK “Drum Major Instinct” Sermon.  For our Boolean search on Sysomos, we included: (“Martin Luther King” OR “Martin Luther King JR” OR MLK) AND (RAM OR Dodge).  From this search, we found over 160 thousand tweets on the subject:

The topic really spiked following the Super Bowl when Twitter users had a night to digest to ad.  In general the reaction was not positive:

This includes the top retweeted tweet, which edited the commercial to lineup with a part of the same speech that contained an anti-consumerist message, focusing on not buying expensive cars:

In the video, @AsteadWesley reposted the adjusted speech, which included a link in a thread that he made to the original commercial for comparison.  Responses to the tweet included discussions about MLK’s stances on consumerism, as well as links to other speeches that he made that again defamed the idea of materialism for materialism’s sake.

When discussing the commercial, Twitter users focused on the ideas of capitalism as well as commercialism in their responses:

Connections were also made to how this was a commercial that was “ridiculous:”

In general, the commercial connected mainly with Americans:

This is not a surprise seeing how not only is Martin Luther King Jr. an American icon, but RAM trucks are also an American brand.  In addition, this commercial premiered during the Super Bowl, which is the most watched program in the United States annually.  According to Nielson, the Super Bowl drew over 170 million social media interactions.  It was also viewed on 68% of American homes that have a television, which meant that there were plenty of viewers to the commercial.

Blog post by: Matthew Wieselthier, Austin Natowitz and Alec Bieber

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