Groupon’ ad: When does humour in advertising become distasteful?

Groupon have been in the news as one of the startlingly successful startups in recent times. Their business, based on getting deals has seen super success recently.

However, I wonder how many customers they will lose after a major blunder at the super bowl last Sunday.

Advertising during the super bowl guarantees major exposure but when advertising goes wrong, then it can lead to major losses.

In the commercial, images of Tibet are shown as actor Timothy Hutton reads, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.”

The image then flips to Hutton inside a restaurant being served food; “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

The ad has drawn so much criticisms that many people have threatened to close their accounts as they see the ad as insensitive to the situation in Tibet.

As a business person, I’m thinking this may be good time for competitors to grow their market share. But as a media professional, I keep thinking, at what point should humor be considered too much in a media product? Whose fault is it that the ad went out? Many people blame the ad agency but at the same time, how did Groupon feel about the ad before it went on air?

Gropon reps have published statements but PR is so saturating that people know they are being worked on. What then can even be done to repair marketing communications gone wrong?

So many questions…

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2 comments on “Groupon’ ad: When does humour in advertising become distasteful?

  1. Groupon should say they were informing the public about the situation in Tibet; they just said it wrong. Poor them though. It's funny how stuff like these happen. To think people probably brainstormed and agreed on that ad! Heh!Adiya

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