Groupon explains thinking behind 'bad taste' adverts during Super Bowl XLV

Groupon have posted a blog explaining their thinking behind the three 30 second adverts that featured during the Super Bowl XLV. If you haven’t seen the ads they played the emotional card, using causes like ‘save the whale’, ‘save the rainforest’ and ‘save Tibet’ to sell their group coupon schemes.

The ads were not well received at all and a huge backlash has ensued with many people dropping the company’s service in favour of rivals as a result.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason riles the public with poor explanation of bad taste adverts

The Groupon delegate known only as ‘Andrew’ (CEO Andrew Mason) has kindly explained via their blog page the reasons why the ads went to air in the first place, but so far the majority of feedback to the article is even more outrage – largely for the lack of an apology.

Andrew said, “We take the causes we highlighted extremely seriously – that’s why we created this campaign in partnership with many hallmark community organizations, for whom we’re raising money at Groupon’s roots are in social activism – we actually began as cause-based website called The Point, and we continue to use Groupon to support local causes with our G-Team initiative. In our two short years as a business, we’ve already raised millions of dollars for national charities like Donors Choose and Kiva.”

And further on he added, “Our ads highlight the often trivial nature of stuff on Groupon when juxtaposed against bigger world issues, making fun of Groupon. Why make fun of ourselves? Because it’s different – ads are traditionally about shameless self promotion.”

The majority of the audience missed the point of the adverts though and there were two reasons why. Firstly the adverts just weren’t funny or ironic; they were like something from the 70’s before industry reforms when advertising was tenuous and often misleading, and as a result the majority of the audience just didn’t get the joke.

This leads nicely to point two; the joke wasn’t funny and there was no mention on the adverts that Groupon would match any donation made to those causes via their partners, so in fact the ads were very misleading and mis-representative.

[adsense]Many companies have used causes to champion their products, offering donations in the process; but while Groupon have now explained that they will match any donations made by customers to the causes they trivialised in their ads, they haven’t apologised for the lack of explanation at the end of the ads, and have in fact only tried to sell their product again at the end of the blog, as read: “The feedback led us to make changes to the end of our ads that further encourage our fundraising. To that point, if the ads affected you, we hope you’ll head over to and make a donation (which we’ll match) – we’re hoping to raise a lot of money.”

However, knowing that it cost $3m for a 30 second slot at the Super Bowl, surely the company would have been better off making say, one 30 second ad and splitting the other $6m between the causes they so heinously trivialised in their pursuit of advertising returns.

What do you think? Is the explanation via blog enough or were they wrong to use those ads in the first place? Leave your thoughts by posting a comment.

Read our previous review of the Groupon adverts, and read about the Black Eyed Peas half time show, how VW and Audi got it right with their advertising, and read about the 10:10 advert that outraged the world.


Christina Aguilera seeks forgiveness for national anthem gaffe at Super Bowl XLV

Poor old NFL. They worked so hard to try and get things right this year, hiring the Black Eyed Peas to wow the fans at half time, adding legendary guitarist Slash and rap mogul Usher to the bill for good measure; and then comes along former dirty girl, Christina Aguilera to belt out the national anthem in her typical lung-busting style.

How could anything go wrong with such a great bunch of professionals on board? One way could be to get your lyrics for the national anthem from wikipedia.

Today Christina Aguilera has sought forgiveness for her major gaffe during the performance last night, as she sang the wrong words. After a small investigation into the source of her words, it turns out she used wikipedia to source and learn them. It just about proves the usefulness of wikipedia as a propaganda tool and changer of history, and definitely shows that the site can not be trusted for valid information.

So much for professionalism then, but in truth, there is no real harm done. For those who follow Aguilera and like her talent, their opinion won’t change, while for those who dislike or have no feelings towards her, all she has done is affirmed their feelings.

[adsense]There’s a lesson in there for everyone though, and it’s not just that we shouldn’t trust wikipedia. There will always be hiccups in everything, and while the NFL have tried their utmost to make sure the Super Bowl XLV was perfect, only a few minor flaws occurred. If fans came away complaining about Aguilera’s slip up then they missed the point of the occasion, and by doing so have tarnished a great game between two NFL giants; won deservedly by the Green Bay Packers.

Aguilera is human just like the rest of us, and as such is flawed like the rest of us. At least she had the balls to get up there and sing for her country, so if she got a few words wrong because some idiot put the wrong lyrics on a useless website, then so be it.

No harm done.

Let us know your thoughts on Aguilera’s slip up; has she insulted America or was it an honest mistake? Leave a comment.

Read about other Super Bowl stuff like the Black Eyed Peas half time spot, VW and Audi Adverts, the Groupon adverts, as well as the big chill before the game.


A review of the Super Bowl XLV… Advertising?!

After weeks of build up the big day finally arrived accompanied by the usual fanfare and party atmosphere. The fans were buzzing and banter was flying back and forth across internet forums and through phone-ins on sports shows.

There’d been big announcements from sponsors, fears over extreme weather conditions and black-outs, red alerts on transportation to Dallas; but by 6pm EST everything had fallen beautifully into place and the Super Bowl XLV kicked off.

Liz Hurley shows off her Brazilian.

For the fans who made it to the game they will have missed out on the bizarre advertising that slipped into the half time segment of the match, while viewers at home will no doubt have been bewildered by the commercials on hand, not least those promoting Groupon.

The company shot three short adverts featuring various celebrities, including Liz Hurley, who began their respective shorts talking about various environmental concerns, like the depletion of whale populations, the plight of Tibet and deforestation of Brazilian rainforests.

The commercials are a little too blasé about these world problems, but perhaps the most offensive element of all is the mental image of Liz Hurley with a Brazilian wax job.

While it’s good that the company is pushing the environmental concerns out to a bigger audience and potentially raising awareness, they shoot them down in the next breath.

“Tibet is in trouble but they still find time to make a great curry.” Hilarious. No really.

No, you’re right, it’s not hilarious; it’s pathetic.

[adsense]The adverts could have been funny and ironic, while still respecting the situations they use to promote their pointless products, but the lack of real intelligence on the part of those responsible is painfully evident. To add insult to injury they chose actors whose careers never went anywhere and are now firmly up on the shelf, gathering dust where they belong.

So here comes the rant; but not from me. I only suggest they follow the advice of the awesome Bill Hicks who once said, “If you’re in advertising, kill yourself.”

Please let us know your thoughts on the Groupon adverts, are they funny, sad, pathetic, clever or what? Leave a comment.

Read about the VW and Audi adverts, the big snow scare, the Black Eyed Peas half time special and Liz Hurley‘s marital separation.


Black Eyed Peas to ease ‘Nipplegate’ into Super Bowl half-time history

After the 2004 fiasco surrounding Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, the NFL has take strident measures to ensure there won’t be another ‘Nipplegate.’

The world still hasn’t forgotten the moment J.T. ripped part of Janet’s bustier away to reveal a heavily pierced nipple that sent family viewers and broadcasters into a frenzy over standards and decency.

Whatever lay behind the controversy is now well forgotten, and after five years of mediocre, has-beens; epitomised by The Who last year who showed that the decades since their halcyon days has been a little unkind, the NFL have taken a gamble on the Black Eyed Peas in an effort to bring hipper entertainment to a delicate audience.

Despite their singles including such risqué titles as ‘my humps’ and ‘let’s get retarded’, the organisers feel that they are a safe bet to entertain and inspire the audiences at home and in the park.

“We’ve taken great pains to ensure that nothing that would be unsuitable for a mass audience would occur,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “We write it into their contracts that they would be liable if anything is not suitable for that mass audience.”

After ‘Nipplegate’ the NFL took production matters into their own hands, relieving MTV of their duties; but sadly their ensuing choices of pension rockers Tom Petty, Bruce Springstein, Paul McCartney, Prince and The Who did little to inspire a nation that wanted some life to keep the entertainment momentum going.

“That was such a big deal, and they got way overly cautious,” said Andy Greene, associate editor at

“For the first time, the show was completely trashed. People were saying, ‘I’m sick of the fossils!’ ” He added.

In response to their viewers the NFL have taken a safe gamble on the Black Eyed Peas, who have assured the producers they’ve made the right choice.

“We’re not a risqué group,” told The Post. “Unlike Janet, neither Fergie or I have ever appeared nude on an album cover or a magazine cover. Janet’s a great act; she’s a great talent, and she felt a need to do that. That’s not us.”

[adsense]“This is a good way for the league to look like it’s broadening its appeal with a hip-hop group. Everything about them is so carefully, commercially crafted for mass appeal,” said Jack Dickey, editor of Deadspin. “Their songs are vague and positive. Someone once described their music as ‘songs for bar mitzvahs.’ ”

The Peas will allegedly be joined by former Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist, Slash, along with Usher. Both are chalked up as ‘surprise’ guests.

Christina Aguilera will also make an appearance to sing the national anthem. Whether she’ll behave herself or not is another matter. Dirty.

Share your thoughts on the Black Eyed Peas joining in the NFL celebrations. Tell us if you think they’re a good or bad choice by leaving a comment.

Read more about the Super Bowl build up like the VW and Audi commercials, whether snow might affect the game, and take a look at NFL legends Marcus Dupree, George Blanda and Don Meredith.