Why Groupon’s Super Bowl Ads Sucked & Other Marketing News…

Let’s be honest here, Groupon’s Super Bowl Ads sucked, didn’t they?!

I mean, pardon my “Gen-X,” (ooh, he said sucked!) but the commercial just left me bewildered… I think they tried a little too hard.

It’s not like I’m against the political “incorrectness” of it all… It’s just never a good idea to make your customers feel like cheap, shallow, opportunists only worried about finding the next deal.

You be the judge and tell me what you think…

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While we’re on the subject, I don’t think Groupon’s competitor, LivingSocial did much better…

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Because people are generally afraid of change in the first place, let alone a lifestyle change like cross-dressing!

Anyway, if you’d like to read some other people’s takes on the matter, I’ve compiled some articles on the subject…

Groupon’s Super Bowl Ad Quickly Draws Backlash

By Scott Austin

It’s not clear yet whether Groupon sought controversy for its Super Bowl commercial to gain publicity, but either way the venture capital-backed daily deal site sure got it.

Immediately after one of its three commercials ran during Fox’s second-half coverage of Super Bowl XLV, hundreds of people took to Twitter to air their displeasure with the ad.

The commercial in question involves actor Timothy Hutton, who makes light of Tibet’s social ills by touting a discount offer on Groupon:

“Mountainous Tibet – one of the most beautiful places in the world. This is Timothy Hutton. The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought on Groupon.com we’re getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Here is a sampling of Twitter comments about the ad:

That @Groupon commercial was terribly offensive. Way to commodify an entire people’s real struggles & experience.

That Tibet commercial of yours was the most offensive thing I’ve seen all day! #yousuck

Groupon, your commercial insulted a lot of people. good job. you suck.

@groupon You lost another customer from that Super Bowl commercial.

I guess Groupon decided to do a funny commercial about Tibet because Darfur would be in bad taste? #adFAIL  Read More…

Groupon’s Tibet Super Bowl ad offends everyone

  • By: Andrew Couts
  • February 7, 2011

In a Super Bowl ad intended to mock itself, Groupon makes a mockery of the struggles of the Tibetan people.

Aside from deciding the champion of pigskin, the Super Bowl has long been the time when companies roll out their most high-budget, titillating or controversial commercials. But last night, collaborative coupon-savings company Groupon apparently took a step too far.

In case you missed last night’s big game, here’s what happened: Groupon’s ad, for which the two-year-old company paid $3 million to air, opens with shots of the beautiful landscape of Tibet — a county that has suffered under the heavy hand of communist China since 1951.

“The Tibetan people are in trouble,” says actor Timothy Hutton in a voiceover. “Their very culture is in jeopardy.”

And then it all goes to hell.

“But they still whip up an amazing fish curry!” says Hutton, now sitting comfortably in a restaurant.

From here, he segues into why Groupon is so great: Members of Groupon saved a life-changing $15 on dinner at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago! Yes, 15 whole dollars! Hurray!  Read More…

Why Groupon’s Super Bowl Ad Was So Offensive

By Marshall Kirkpatrick / February 6, 2011 8:38 PM

One of the world’s most revered cultures and religious histories has been threatened with death and extinction in Tibet for decades at the hands of the authoritarian Chinese government; Groupon’s Super Bowl advertisement about Tibet (below) was based on a joke drastically reducing the seriousness of that suffering. Not all hope is lost, the ad says, because at least there are still refugees that will cook discounted food for White people! Many people on Twitter reacted very negatively to the ad. This is my best explanation why it was offensive. Not everyone agrees – we’ve got a debate going in comments below which we invite you to participate in.

The joke was intended to be absurd, but the absurdity presumed a lack of seriousness in the whole matter. It was an attempt at post-serious humor – but most people with common sense agree that the struggles of Tibet still deserve respect and seriousness. The joke is on anyone who really cares. It came across as the kind of out-of-touch humor that overprivileged, spiritually mean, advertising industry creatives (specifically, the kind that kids refer to as “douchebags”) would come up with. That’s one explanation why the commercial was offensive, but view it below and offer your own if you like. Another perspective: As Rabbi Eliyahu Fink said on Twitter tonight, “Amazing. More people are offended by Groupon’s ads than the coarse objectification of women in EVERY SINGLE OTHER AD!”  Read More…

The real reason Groupon’s Super Bowl ad missed the mark

By now you’re probably well aware of online coupon site Groupon’s failed foray into the big time of national advertising. If not, just Google “Groupon Withdraws Contentious Super Bowl Spots.”

So how could a bunch of really smart people–Groupon’s execs are geeks, remember–completely botch such an elementary assignment?

Simple. They didn’t have a model to assess cultural ideas, nor a way to size up the people and organizations who pitch said ideas (in this case, ad agency CP+B). In fact, they probably still don’t have one.

So, they did what most harried business people do. They based their decision on what “felt” right to them at the time; the relationship and recommendations of their agency “friends” (a.k.a. the pitch), their initial, contextually-biased viewings of the commericial, the opinions of peers, etc.

And that’s why they missed the mark. No framework, wildly unexpected results.

Do you have a model? Do you have a perceptual lens to bring the marketplace and your ideas clearly into view? If you do, please let me know. I know of, and have worked with, only an elite few who actually employ one. Note: CP+B has one, but in my opinion it’s woefully flawed.  Read More…

Moral of the story? Be careful what kind of marketing message you’re putting out there!

Don’t know what your “marketing message” is or how to even “get it out there”? Give us a call, we’d be happy to help! 970-739-9911

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