By now, you may or may not have seen the latest online ad by startup company 360fly, which promotes an “immersive, interactive 360° video” experience. Here is the ad, which shows a President Donald Trump impersonator bragging about the construction of a new wall, while racist Mexican caricature stereotypes (get it?) emerge from under (and over) the wall to greetings from a Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders impersonator.
Apparently, the company is now getting complaints (what a surprise), and it’s how the company is responding to those legit concerns that truly shows how clueless it really is. For example, here is a sample email shared by Lucas Matney of TechCrunch.
Ah yes, the focus group excuse and the claim that 90% of Latinos focus tested thought the ad was funny. How many Latinos did they have in the room? One? Two? Five? Our initial response:
Our more detailed response:
We highly doubt that 360fly truly made a real effort to understand that its idea was stupidly racist to begin with and now instead of admitting that it creatively f-ed it up, it hides behind the whole “we’re smarter than our potential customers” excuse.
Case in point: see how 360fly’s CEO Peter Adderton (an Aussie) keeps digging his heels. As TechCrunch reported recently:
“How is this racist?” Adderton asks, pointing out that his tagline is meant to do turn the advert on its head, highlighting how the current discourse in U.S. politics is problematic. “It is the reverse of racism. If I’m a racist, I wouldn’t come up to you and say ‘hey, you should broaden your perspective’.”
Adderton says his company has a number of Mexican and Latin American employees, pointing out that the company has an office in Florida. He claims that both they and the company’s Mexican distributor love the ad, but the Australian-born entrepreneur, who volunteered that he’d be voting Republican if he was able to vote in the US, reveals he might be less aware of the issues at hand.
“I am Australian, and I didn’t grow up with the whole battle with the wall and immigration, so I have a very open mind,” says Adderton. “Mexican American people have no more challenges than any other Americans, I believe that the majority of Mexicans are hard-working, family-loving people. We all have families, we all have the same challenges.”
If we can ignore the absolutely ridiculous privileged explanation (“see how smart I am?”), we would love to ask Adderton this question: would you be so bold to defend your ad if you had used other racist stereotypes, where a Trump character was saying, ‘Look at my African-American over here’ (actual Trump quote)? Would you even dare to create that “controversial” ad?
But you have no problem doing it when it comes to Mexicans.
Jen Doung’s Medium post about 360fly said it best, when she wrote the following:
Did your marketing team even consider that part of their 360 filmmaker demographic is Mexican? Unfortunately, while your company may consider this a parody, this ad perpetuates stereotypes and social constructions of Mexicans that are, quite frankly, racist.
The caricatures that come out of the hole on the other side of the wall are just a parade of stereotype after stereotype. The portrayal of Mexican culture in this does not show a “broader perspective” if anything, it does the opposite — it demonstrates a narrow, shallow view of Mexicans. Perhaps what is the most disturbing thing is that your CEO, Peter Adderton, came out during an interview on TechCrunch and said, “Mexican American people have no more challenges than any other Americans.”
It’s ignorant to make assumptions about a culture, and to undermine the struggles that Mexicans have gone through, which is precisely what Adderton did in a mere 11-word sentence.
Doung also took the time to remind everyone that 360fly’s product is just not cutting it, so what better way to get attention that invest in a racist ad?
We are not buying it, no pun intended.
We could share the other tweets we have gotten from people who have seen the ad and instantly call out its serious issues, but instead we wanted to share the comments we tweeted to 360fly’s chief marketing person (he of the 20 Twitter followers and the one who wrote that email response we shared earlier):
pro tip: if you are already defending a spot before sharing it, you know you have problems. Stick to amateur hour.
— Latino Rebels (@latinorebels) June 28, 2016
still waiting to hear exactly what is "compelling" about your ad
— Latino Rebels (@latinorebels) June 28, 2016
It’s time to put a stop on all these “creatives” using their “wit” to perpetuate racist stereotypes that in the end broaden no one’s perspective. It’s also time to stop letting them try and use their “intellect” to explain their way out of the problem. They are just perpetuating the racism they claim to be fighting. And they need to exposed.