On Tuesday, Groupon founder Andrew Mason took to his company's blog and explained their series of Super Bowl ads. That's never a good thing…
You can brag.
You can apologize.
But you should never have to explain.
In 3 spots that ran before, during and after the game, ads that appeared to promote humanitarian and environmental causes – most notably Chinese government oppression in Tibet – swerved to become tongue-in-cheek pitches for Groupon sales. Immediately following the spots, many took to Facebook and Twitter to complain, focusing on the fact that their ads made light of serious situations.
After taking 24 hours of flak, Mason had to explain how the ads worked and why they produced the ads they produced to an angry crowd. He did not apologize.
This isn't a blog about whether the ad was inappropriate or not. This is a blog about how the ad wasn't clear and if you are going to be running an ad during the Super Bowl, it should probably be clear to the viewer.
When I first saw the ad I thought to myself “wow, that's a kick in the nuts.” Then was left to wonder what next? I took to Twitter and saw a stream of tweets such as “since when has Kenneth Cole been handling the advertising for Groupon?” The public was confused.
But eventually my account executive instincts kicked in and I visited the Groupon website. Everything seemed normal. I was given the opportunity to choose my city and register for an account. But that seemed to be it. Just as I was about to leave the site I saw a small button that said “View our Super Bowl commercials and make a donation”. It was only when I clicked on it that I was diverted to