Tuned In

Groupon: We Meant to Do That

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So as I wrote this morning, Groupon seems to have alienated much of the football-watching world with its commercial last night, which began as a seemingly earnest plea about the plight of Tibet and ended with Timothy Hutton describing the awesome deal he and others got at a Tibetan restaurant thanks to the online-coupon site.

Today, a PR rep for the company writes:

We wanted to clarify the intention of the Super Bowl ad yesterday. The humor was designed to draw attention to causes including Greenpeace, The Tibet Fund, and Rainforest Action Network. Groupon actually started as a collective action and philanthropy site (ThePoint.com).  Collective action is in Groupon’s DNA and this campaign pokes fun at its own roots. Anyone can go to www.SaveTheMoney.org (launched before the ads aired yesterday) and and help these causes.
Uh, OK. Granted, you can—by visiting a website not touted in the ad itself—donate to charity. And granted, the ad was obviously meant to be funny. But it was meant to be funny by absorbing the audience in a serious message about Tibet, then cutting to a coupon deal. (Get it? We know you care more about saving on dinner than saving Tibet!) It’s not that viewers didn’t get that it was a joke. It’s that they saw it was an obnoxious joke.
In any case, I await the “clarification” from Pepsi Max that its ads were intended to raise awareness about the threat of assault by beverage can.
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