The Chicago-based deal-website faced their first world-wide blunder on Super Bowl Sunday with a controversial ad that reportedly “came last in sentiment.” This claim was made by Chicago marketing company Alterian, which measures social media activity around Super Bowl ads.
For those who haven’t seen it yet (we’ve included it below), the ad starts with a few shots of Tibetan landscape, with a voice over by actor Timothy Hutton talking about the trouble their culture faces— then cut to him being served in a Himalayan restaurant, revering the people for their ability to still “Whip up an amazing fish curry,” and then gloating about how much money he saved on Tibetan food by using Groupon.com.
Apparently, no one else did either. The ad sparked controversy across the web, resulting in nasty comments written on the site, as well as numerous ‘unsubscribes.’
While the company meant it to be a philanthropic effort to help raise funds for their partner organizations, including the Tibet Fund, the ad itself didn’t do a very good job of making that clear.
The site itself garnered the most activity during the Super Bowl, so I suppose from a marketing standpoint, any press is good press. Hell, I myself had never heard of them before this whole ordeal.