So Groupon, that favorite daily-deal website of thousands across the country, ran a Superbowl ad.
And then. Shit, meet fan.
I’m not going go through it all, if you missed the story this writer did an excellent job recapping. Basically, they tried to make a funny and failed.
One of the main defenses I’ve seen of Groupon’s Superbowl ad (and the entire campaign) is something along the lines of, “C’mon y’all, really? If you knew anything about Groupon you’d know they were just funning.” You can see variations of this in the comments of the CEO’s response to the backlash.
Isn’t the point of buying a REALLY EXPENSIVE Superbowl ad to reach people who have NO IDEA who you are?
I mean, keep your sense of humor intact, sure, but recognize that you’re about to spread your message to millions of people who have never heard of you before, let alone looked at your About page to see that you sprouted off from a charity organization and have a quirky sense of humor. Don’t use the Superbowl as a platform for your inside-baseball ads. There just aren’t enough insiders.
I’m not canceling my Groupon subscription, as many others are or did. I do think Groupon’s decision to run these ads was a poor one, but it wasn’t a malevolent one. I tend to judge on intent, not execution. I get the intent. The fact that they had Greenpeace, buildOn, The Tibet Fund, and the Rainforest Action Network signed up BEFORE the ads ran and caused a fuss goes a long, long way. But their execution failed miserably and it would be really nice if they apologized. Regardless of their intent, the fact is they DID offend people. Digging in their heels and going, “well WE think it’s funny!” isn’t going to help them.
So yeah, I’m not canceling but honestly I don’t use Groupon much anyway. I think I’ve bought two deals in the past year? I tend to be picky; if you buy the “deal” and then don’t use it, you’ve actually lost money. (I know! Math!) So the voice of my dollar isn’t really very strong in this instance, but there it is.
What do you think? If you have a Groupon subscription, did you cancel it? Do you think everyone’s overreacting?
One final thing I discovered while rambling around the internet was just how bad a deal Groupon can be for small business owners. Now, yes, every person is responsible for their own business and they shouldn’t sign up if they don’t understand what they’re in for, but I’ll just say: keep in mind when using a 50%-off Groupon that the business is only receiving about 25 cents on the dollar. Businesses should really be filing Groupon under advertising expenses, but it seems Groupon’s track record in explaining things clearly may not be so great.