A new ad by tech company 360fly is causing quite a stir on the internet.
The ad, which is set in what we can only hope is a fictitious future, shows President Donald Trump unveiling his Mexican border wall. Predictably, it proves to be an immediate failure as a stereotypical cast of Mexican characters emerge single file out of a tunnel hole behind the Trump's podium. Another Mexican man bounds the wall in a jetpack.
Oh yeah, and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are there to greet the mariachis, maids and migrant workers, and even help one Mexican dude smuggle his churro cart into the country.
The Trump spoof, which is meant to advertise a new 360-video recording camera, has more than half a million views on YouTube since being posted last week. But you might not see it on TV.
360fly CEO Peter Adderton told Fusion most major networks in the U.S.—including Comedy Central, Bravo, FX, Dish Network and Univision (Fusion's parent company), as well as the L.A. affiliates of NBC, CBS and ABC— refused to air the ad, presumably because they thought the content was off-color. The ad was approved by FOX News and DIRECTV.
The ad raises a provocative question: Can you spoof racism without being racist yourself? The 360fly ad tries, but whether it succeeds is debatable.
Adderton defends the ad as effective satire.
“The spot is political satire designed to challenge consumers to have a broader perspective,” he told Fusion. “We stereotyped everyone in the spot: Trump, Hillary and Bernie.”
Univision did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to why it refused to air the ad.
Although some viewers on social media are criticizing the ad as racist, Adderton claims the response to it has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
He says the ad was approved by focus groups prior to launch. "Ninety percent loved it and thought it was hysterical, 9% were neutral and 1% didn’t like it," Adderton said in an email. "Of course, with everything, the 1% are those with the louder voices and express their feelings about the spot."
Adderton says the ad is meant to draw a parallel between the "narrow and singular focus that politics drives so many people to adopt and the narrow focus the video camera industry has limited its consumers to.”
But for some viewers, the intended humor and message of the ad are lost in its portrayal of Mexicans.
360fly isn’t the only company trying to sell its products with racy, border-themed ads.
Carl’s Jr. last year heated up the immigration debate with an eyebrow-raising ad featuring bikini babes playing border volleyball. Predictably, many people thought the border ad was pretty borderline itself.