Monday, February 7, 2011

Groupon goes 'epic fail' in its attempt at Super Bowl advertising; Tibet ad gets called out for being 'tasteless'

One expects a company like Go Daddy to produce truly awful advertising since its target audience appears to be the 14 to 16 year old male demographic, but Groupon's initial Super Bowl advertising spots were almost as winch-creating.

The Timothy Hutton ad seen here generated YouTube comments like "Very Tasteless" and my favorite "Seriously? Holy cow, talk about tasteless. This may well be the "Springtime for Hitler" of Super Bowl ads."

Rob Solomon, Chief Operating Officer at Groupon, was quoted by AdAge as saying that the company wanted to reach a huge audience with the Super Bowl. "After two years in business earning 50 million subscribers to date, we feel it's time to use TV to reach an even broader audience."

Well, the company managed to reach that large audience, but did they realize the damage that could be done by taking the wrong approach?

The good news for Groupon is is that LivingSocial, Groupon's main competitor, probably didn't do itself any favors either. It's ad, which sees its main character eventually in drag, may not have been as tasteless, but it certainly didn't make me want to be a LivingSocial customer.

This ad is in the current mode of "our customers are stupid" currently favored by ad agencies. You see lots of these kinds of ads, from the Doritos pug ad, to Pepsi Max ad where the people shown are just plain mean and unlikable. Ad agencies continue to say in their client's ads "if you use this product you are an idiot!"

But LivingSocial did one thing right: they have disabled comments on their YouTube Channel, something Groupon probably wished they had done, as well.