An Open Letter to 360Fly

Dear 360Fly,

There are so many things that I want to say, but I will start with this: to whoever approved this ad for your company, you embarrass yourself, you embarrass your company, and you embarrass the VR community.

Was the goal of this controversial ad campaign to sell a camera that is limited to shooting 2880x2880 at 30FPS without a nadir? Or was the hope to make a joke of a man who encourages xenophobia by threatening to build a wall between the United States and Mexico?

I understand that many people, myself included, thought that Donald Trump running for president was a joke — but we are past that. Trump is the Republican front runner and he has time and time again demonstrated racism especially towards the Mexican and Latino population.

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.

For your company to think that capitalizing on a highly divisive political position would “bring all views together” is an idea that lives in its own delusion. If you truly wanted to show a “broader perspective” you should have shown what is actually happening in Mexico and approached this from a realistic perspective.

Parody or not, this commercial is offensive and you have successfully isolated filmmakers that might have bought your camera.

I hope, moving forward, that instead of spending your money on ad campaigns that polarize a community, you will put those resources toward improving your tech to actually be competitive in the VR camera market.

Your camera is cropped to 240 degrees, it can’t capture a full 360 sphere, is limited to 30 FPS, and you’re not even giving filmmakers the opportunity to color their own footage. Not to mention, you price your camera at $499 with a form factor that doesn’t even allow us to put two cameras back to back to get true 360 like the Kodak SP360 4K or Samsung Gear 360.

Is an edgy campaign at the expense of an entire race suppose to distract from some of the real issues with the camera?

Please rethink the way you choose to represent your brand because, unfortunately, you represent more than just a camera. You represent our community as a whole.

Best,

Jenn Duong

Director of VR at 1215creative
Co-Founder of SH//FT