Groupon pulls 'offensive' Super Bowl ads
"Five days have passed since the Super Bowl, and one thing is clear -- our ads offended a lot of people," chief executive Andrew Mason said in a blog post. "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," he added.
Of the three ads, the most polarizing was a bit about Tibet, which opened with mountain scenes and actor Timothy Hutton saying "The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their culture is in jeopardy."
"But they still whip up an amazing fish curry," he quips. "And since 200 of us bought on Groupon.com, we're getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalayan Restaurant in Chicago."
The other ads featured a similar pattern for whales facing extinction and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
"We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through," said Mason.
Unbeknownst to viewers, Groupon was serious about doing some good for each of the causes featured -- with organizations like Greenpeace, buildOn, The Tibet Fund and the Rainforest Action Network all supportive of the spots. For all donations through their SaveTheMoney.org campaign to these charities, Groupon will match up to $500K.
The company promises to run "less polarizing" ads in the future.
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