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Groupon’s Marketing Flop: Super Bowl Commercials

(Or, alternately titled: Consider your audience)

One of my recent posts was about the rules of engagement on Twitter which I ended with the statement, “Your online reputation is at stake.”

Last night, an online company, Groupon, had some Super Bowl commercials which I felt were potentially detrimental to their reputation.  While many companies do take risks with their advertising during the game in order to get noticed, taking on political topics such as Tibet, saving the whales, and the rainforest and essentially making fun of  these issues many people hold dear is not the way to go. Far from it. Making fun of yourself or your company or something related to your field is one thing, but stepping on personal values is quite another. Personally, I think LivingSocial took the right route with their commercial about their deals changing someone’s life in extraordinary ways. See LivingSocial’s commercial here. Also, for a little fun and potential shock value I think Dorito’s ad with a finger sucking co-worker was rather clever. I’m still divided on Mini’s Cram It In The Boot ad.

Groupon has already issued a recent apology video, for Japanese companies selling more deals than they could handle resulting in either late or no food deliveries on an important holiday. See Groupon’s video apology here and  read Huffington Post’s story on the Groupon apology video here.

I think they need to issue an apology for these commercials as well. Having bought several Groupon deals in the past, these commercials are making me wonder whether I want to spend my money with the company again. I saw a tweet from one person on Twitter who after the Tibet commercial aired was going to take the Groupon app off their phone. I’m sure there were more that didn’t come across my Twitter stream.

Didn’t see the commercials? Watch the offending commercials here: Tibet, Save the Whales, and the rainforest.

Most of the Super Bowl commercials can be found here on Entertainment Weekly’s site:  Super Bowl Commercials: See ’em Here!

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