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Groupon Super Bowl ads?

I just saw a teaser headline on my ISPs home page asking if the Groupon Tibet ad went too far.

Did you see Groupon's ads (there were a few) last night? Each ad started out as a serious public service announcement and then went veered off course into a "me and a group of 300 got a great bargain."

The Tibet ad, featuring Timonthy Hutton" for example, went like this:
"The Tibetan people are in trouble . . .Their very culture is in jeopardy."

Then the camera flashes to Hutton sitting in an upscale restaurant. "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry! And since 200 of us bought on we’re getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago."

Other ads opened with Cuba Gooding Jr. pining on the plight of the whales and then backing out into his 'deal' on a whale cruise and Elizabeth Hurley getting a Brazillian wax deal out of Groupon after 'waxing' about the deforestation of the rain forest.

There is plenty of offended buzz today declaring the adds irreverent and in poor taste. What is your take?


Asked by ldmrmom at 2:24 PM on Feb. 7, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 25 (24,648 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • I responded to this when Pam asked it. Before I knew the motives of Groupon, I was disturbed by the ads. It seemed that they were making fun of and exploiting very serious situations to sell coupons. After learning that they were using these coupons to raise money for the causes they seemed to poke fun at, I understood what they were about. It just seems like a lot of work to get a message out--and a lot of misunderstandings are inevitable if they don't make some effort to tie the ads in with the bigger message.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 10:52 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Are the complainers suggesting that the compaines have exploited those causes?

    Because if that is true than for-profit news networks exploit 24 hours a day.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 2:32 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Sorry, I didn't get on last night so I didn't realize it had been asked already. When I glanced at the topics today it didn't show up on the first page.


    No biggie. :-) I just thought I'd share that one in case you wanted to read those responses too. I agree it wasn't a wise marketing move, especially now that I read that they've been trying to get in the Chinese market. They probably alienated China with those ads since they always threaten anyone who meets with Tibetan leaders or supports Tibet, and even if Tibetan Buddhists wouldn't bother to be offended, many of their supporters were. It took too much work to understand what they were trying to do, so it wasn't very effective IMO.

    Answer by pam19 at 8:05 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I had mixed feelings about the Tibetan one. I'm sympathetic to the Tibetan people and I practice Buddhism. I wasn't really offended by it, but I hadn't seen the other commercials before I saw this one, so it surprised me a little. I did laugh, but I was like, "What the heck was that?" LOL If it draws attention to Tibet...apparently they are matching donations to these causes, then I don't care. I think it would have been better to have been clear about these donations at the end of the commercials. I'm sure people would be less offended. I hear the Tibet ad has made China angry, of course. The Brazilian deforestation/waxing one was pretty funny. Here's a question I posted last night:

    What are your thoughts on the Groupon commercial?

    Answer by pam19 at 2:48 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Like I mentioned in the other question - I wish the ads had included the donations they were doing to the causes featured in them instead of thinking people would just assume there was one. Without that, it just seemed snarky, like it was making fun of the cause PSAs.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:29 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I think the clever was lost on too many people (myself included) - there is a fine line between edgy that makes you think and totally missing the mark but being too edgy- I think these missed the mark from what I hear around work, see on line and have read on here-

    Answer by soyousay at 5:40 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Sorry, I didn't get on last night so I didn't realize it had been asked already. When I glanced at the topics today it didn't show up on the first page.

    UpSheRises - There are a lot of people saying a lot of things. Mainly that it was in poor taste. Not that they exploited the causes but they turned a serious issue and made a joke.

    Personally I thought it was tacky. I wasn't offended; I just didn't think it was a wise marketing move. But, I also never got the whole "Go Daddy" approach to Super Bowl ads either. My company uses their services - I didn't know until I started this job this past year what Go Daddy actually did based on their advertising and their advertising did very little to make me think it was worth my effort to find out on my own. :)

    Comment by ldmrmom (original poster) at 6:39 PM on Feb. 7, 2011