Posted by: kelseyhelgeson | February 11, 2011

Superbowl Ad Backlash

This year’s super bowl advertisements caused quite a stir.

Groupon’s ads made light of deforestation in the rain forest, the struggling Tibetan culture and the potential extermination of whales. While I wasn’t personally offended by these ads, I do think they were done in poor taste.

Companies should be cautious that they are not offending their target demographic when making advertisements.Social media has given the consumer a new way to band together and boycott companies . After Groupon’s commercial aired, there was a mass Twitter outcry for members to unsubscribe from their service.

While Groupon’s blog has a link to charities that are working to save the topics of Groupon’s commercials, that isn’t enough to stop public outcry.

Public outcry and organization is a powerful thing, but I wonder how just how much Groupon sales will suffer. My bet is not by a significant amount.

An infamous example of  consumer social media organization is Amazon’s failure to respond after removing hundreds of gay and lesbian themed books from its rating system.

Companies need to have a social media game plan when a crisis situation hits. Online, a official  response is expected almost immediately, and waiting a day is unacceptable.

Social media is changing the how we react to everything, and is making it a tougher job for companies who arn’t prepared to respond.



  1. It really is too bad that Groupon failed so tremendously with its Super Bowl spots this year. This is an instance, I believe, where Groupon’s advertising team was working so closely with its commercials that it was unable to view and comprehend the messaging from an outside perspective.

    Few people realize that Groupon, in fact, donated an immense amount of money to these social causes portrayed in its advertisements. Unfortunately, that minor detail was not apparent in the company’s messaging. Instead, Groupon appeared to be making light of some very serious situations.

    In this situation, Groupon needed to take a huge step back from its final product, and look at it through the lens of a critical consumer. Advertisers need to be able to pick out all of the possible flaws and gaps in its commercials, because if something can be misconstrued, it will be.

    I feel bad for Groupon, but as much as I hate to say it, they should have seen this one coming.

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