DETROIT FREE PRESS
DETROIT -- TV ads for the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado that show vivid images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are having a polarizing effect among some consumers.
George W. Holmes, a black who heads the New York-based civil rights group Congress for Racial Equality, said: "If they'd marched with us when we got fire hoses turned on us, then maybe they'd deserve to use those images."
Anthony Johnson, a Troy, Mich., resident who is also black, had the opposite reaction. "I was like, 'Wow!' I felt somewhat patriotic," he said.
General Motors Corp.'s Chevy officials said the Silverado "Anthem" spots, which also show images of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, former President Nixon and boxer Muhammad Ali, are supposed to illustrate the hardships and accomplishments the United States has endured.
The campaign for the company's top-selling pickup features four ads that use the unreleased song "Our Country" by John Mellencamp, including one that shows a man holding a sleeping baby.
"We wanted to set up this proposition that we've been standing side by side with all the things America goes through, ups and downs," said Kim Kosak, Chevy's general director of advertising and sales promotions.