Groupon pulls Tibet, whales, rainforest ads

Feb 11, 2011
The headquarters of web start-up Groupon are seen in Chicago, Illinois. Internet bargain coupon phenomenon Groupon is pulling a series of Super Bowl advertisements that critics said made light of the plight of Tibet, whales and the Amazon rainforest.

Internet bargain coupon phenomenon Groupon is pulling a series of Super Bowl advertisements that critics said made light of the plight of Tibet, whales and the Amazon rainforest.

Groupon chief executive Andrew Mason announced the decision to no longer run the controversial television commercials in a blog post late Thursday.

"Five days have passed since the Super Bowl, and one thing is clear -- our offended a lot of people," Mason said. "We hate that we offended people, and we're very sorry that we did -- it's the last thing we wanted.

"We've listened to your feedback, and since we don't see the point in continuing to anger people, we're pulling the ads," he said.

The Tibet ad shown during the , the most-watched event of the year on US television, opens with mountain scenes set to a melancholy flute and the words, "The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their culture is in jeopardy."

Actor Timothy Hutton then quips, "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry," and explains how he used for a discount at a Tibetan restaurant in Chicago.

Groupon used a similar approach in two other ads which ran before and after the game.

In one, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. somberly describes the need to save whales from extinction but then says it's "more fun" to go on a whale watching cruise using the deal he got with Groupon.

In the other, actress Elizabeth Hurley talks about the threat to the . She then goes on to rave about the "Brazilian wax" deal she got at Groupon, saying "not all is bad."

Mason said the company will run "less polarizing" ads in the future.

"We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through," he said.

"I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads," Mason said.

"While we've always been a little quirky, we certainly aren't trying to be the kind of company that builds its brand on creating controversy," he said.

Mason also said Groupon is matching donations to charities including Greenpeace and the Tibet Fund and the campaign is expected to net $500,000.

Founded in 2008, Chicago-based Groupon offers discounts to its members on retail goods and services, offering one localized deal a day.

Explore further: US Congress decriminalizes cellphone unlocking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Groupon CEO apologizes to Japanese customers

Jan 17, 2011

(AP) -- The chief executive of Groupon, the rapidly growing online coupon provider, apologized to Japanese customers Monday for a New Year's deal gone wrong that highlighted the difficulties the company faces ...

Groupon raises $950 mln in new funding

Jan 10, 2011

Internet bargain coupon phenomenon Groupon said Monday it had raised $950 million in the past month to invest in technology, fund its global expansion and compensate company employees and early investors.

Google close to buying Groupon: reports

Nov 30, 2010

Internet search giant Google is close to a deal to buy online discount shopping site Groupon for as much as six billion dollars, The New York Times and a leading technology blog reported.

Recommended for you

Scalping can raise ticket prices

Jul 25, 2014

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. ...

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

Jul 24, 2014

To share is human. And the means to share personal news—good and bad—have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the ...

User comments : 0