Groupon’s controversial “Tibet” Super Bowl commercial (Updated)

C’mon, Groupon, — and, Timothy Hutton. Did you really think this was going to come off well?

You may very well have lost more customers than you could’ve gained with that one.

Really: The initial online chatter about this ad has been very strong — strongly opposed, that is, with many people proudly announcing on social media, via the “#Groupon” hashtag, that they find the ad exploitative and will no longer support the bulk-couponing/group discount service.

And yet: Groupon is actually trying to raise money for The Tibet Fund. See here. This is not backpedaling; the site you’ll see when you follow that link was live when the commercial aired. The question is: will it work?

Maybe. But not too long after the Super Bowl had ended, the Wall Street Journal had already published an online piece called “That Was Fast – Groupon’s Super Bowl Ad Draws Backlash” and an online Facebook group decrying the ad had been created. Clearly, if Groupon was interested in raising money for the Tibet Fund, that message did not come through.

(Do you want to help Tibet? The Shambhala Sun’s special “Helping Tibet” page, full of organizations you’ll be proud to support, is a fine place to start.)

Update: As New York’s Vulture entertainment blog now writes, Guess who directed this commercial?


  1. avatar comment-top

    How rude to minimize the plight of Tibet with this stupid commercial. Shame on Groupon, shame on the agency. Next year, Somalia treats?

  2. avatar comment-top

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jberd, Nate DeMontigny, GSaj, Gary Donnelly, theworsthorse and others. theworsthorse said: Groupon's "Tibet" Super Bowl commercial will probably make you mad: [...]

  3. avatar comment-top

    Fish curry? Whatever. I unsubscribed. GroupOFF.

  4. avatar comment-top

    [...] dumb as it is offensive.” At his blog The Worst Horse, Shambhala Sun Space’s web editor Rod Meade Sperry asked Groupon, “Did you really think this was going to come off well? You may very well have [...]


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