The Groupon Super Bowl Ads Backlash has a Massive Upside for the Causes Involved

Groupon the daily deal website ran TV commercials for the first time during Super bowl last Sunday (The most viewed TV program in America and the biggest night in advertising, where 30 second spots sell for $3 million and upward) and their commercials took a bashing on the Internet, and social media. People rushed to Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to protest and vent anger against the Groupon ads and social networks are still buzzing with criticism. However there is a massive upside to this giving unprecedented publicity for the causes involved.

The three ads tried to leverage sensitive causes – conservation of whales, rainforests and Tibet to promote daily deals as one way of doing good for these causes. However the way the ads were conceived did not do justice to the intent and didn’t go down very well with viewers. They came across as though Groupon was trying to mock the causes or exploit them for self promotion.

One of the ads shows Timothy Hutton making a case for the Tibetan people where he says “The people of Tibet are in trouble,their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry.” Hutton says that he’s at a restaurant in Chicago enjoying Tibetan food because hundreds signed up for a related Groupon deal.

So What’s the Upside? – The Causes Gained Tremendously
The ads got many people talking, more people than the 100 million viewers of Super bowl that are largely American. The widespread publicity the ads obtained on Twitter, Facebook and all over the Internet meant that people all over the world learned about issues and discussed them. The incident got people united, interested and engaged in the causes as many actively voiced their concern and support.

The incident caught the eye of media for many days, the blogosphere and social networks are still buzzing, and the mainstream press is still talking and will continue to, about the ads and the causes highlighted.

The ads may not have achieved the desired reaction that Groupon might have expected. However the company has certainly helped publicize the causes and the non-profits behind these causes by keeping the subject alive and having people participate and show support.

Also Groupon in its attempt to correct peoples perception has initiated a fundraising campaign for the causes and is actively asking people to donate on its site. Groupon has pledged to match public donation. If you donate on, Groupon will double your donation. The organizations being supported are Greenpeace, The Tibet Fund and The Rainforest Action Network who are directly working on the three issues in question.

Check out the three commercials below and let us know what you think.

if you would like to do something about these causes, grab the opportunity, donate on and Groupon will contribute an equal amount.