The fight for consumer VR dollars must be really getting brutal. Samsung has stuck its neck out yet again in an ad for its new Gear VR; this time one that may not upset women, but could have the SPCA knocking on it corporate doors.
Here's the setup: An ostrich accidentally gets its head caught up in a Gear VR, and uses it to learn to fly. Apparently, the scene the flightless bird sees puts it in a gorgeous sun-drenched clouded sky, making it want to get off the ground. Of course, adding Elton John's Rocket Man would add to any motivation. In the end, we see the shadow of the bird as it lifts off into the wild blue yonder. Samsung's tag line is "so you can do what can't be done."
The ad tries to be clever, forgetting that an ostrich's eyes would never be able to properly use the device, or that the extra weight of the Gear VR might damage the bird's neck in some way. And that faceplant? Ouch! Granted, that probably wasn't a real bird, but it continues Samsung's history of strange marketing choices.
This is nowhere near as egregious as some of its other ads, which sometimes came off as tone-deaf and even sexist. Back in 2013, Samsung paraded a bunch of 1950s stereotypes of drunk silly women during a launch event to promote it's Galaxy S4. Then later that same year, another ad had a male skier stalking a woman on the slopes with his Galaxy Gear Smartwatch after the guy had asked her for her phone number on the ski lift.
And then to promote its VR products, it has had numerous ads where people rip off the headsets in terror. This was meant to show just how realistic VR can be, but people recoiling from your product isn't really the best look.