Groupon's Super Bowl ad with "Girls Trip" star Tiffany Haddish makes a vivid case for supporting local businesses, a mainstay of Groupon's offers.
The spot, released on Jan. 25, 10 days before the game, finds Haddish walking down a typical Main Street asking "what kind of person wouldn't want to support local businesses?" Cut to a rich guy not caring about local business, then paying a price.
It was the first Super Bowl commercial for the e-commerce company since its first foray into the big game in 2011 with "Tibet." Starring Timothy Hutton, the commercial opened like a pledge drive to help the people of Tibet, then turned to Hutton promoting a discount for Tibetan food. The spot was accused of making light of the plight of the people of Tibet, which Groupon said was not its intent. Two other Groupon spots during that game starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Elizabeth Hurley, with themes of saving the whales and rainforest "causes."
Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said at the time that the blowback surprised him, arguing that the ads mocked celebrities more than nonprofits and pointing out the fundraising widgets already in place at Groupon.com to help groups corresponding to each ad -- The Tibet Fund, Greenpeace and Save the Rainforest -- and match consumers' donations. After a lull in TV advertising, Groupon returned to running commercials in 2014.
For its Super Bowl return, Groupon wanted to try humor again. "Humor is in our blood .... Not to leverage that would be disingenuous," Jon Wild, VP of marketing at Groupon North America, told Ad Age. But he stressed that company would strive to do it right.
Haddish garnered attention when during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" she told a story about taking Will and Jada Pinket Smith on a swamp tour in Louisiana purchased through Groupon. Haddish ranks in the top 1 percent of most frequent Groupon purchasers, according to the company.
AGENCY: O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul
QUARTER AIRED: Q4