Though it looked like Groupon would try to weather the storm of controversy created by its Super Bowl ad, according to a blog post by CEO Andrew Mason, the group-couponing company is throwing in the towel. On Super Bowl Sunday, Groupon ran three ads -- one pre-game, one in-game and one post-game, all created by CP&B and directed by Christopher Guest. The premise of the ads was to take well-known causes and tweak both the cause and celebrity spokespeople. The in-game ad, featuring actor Timothy Hutton, made light of the plight of Tibet.
Outcry was quick to come, but the company seemed intent on sticking to its guns, explaining that it was actually raising money for charities. Indeed, the charities it partnered with, came to its defense (Mason said Groupon will have raised over half a million dollars for the groups). But now it's pulled the ads. Wrote Mason on the Groupon blog:
Five days have passed since the Super Bowl, and one thing is clear – our ads offended a lot of people. Tuesday I posted an explanation, but as many of you have pointed out, if an ad requires an explanation, that means it didn't work.
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 . . . .
Hat tip to AdLand.tv.