What were Groupon thinking with their Super Bowl ads?

Who knows what Groupon were thinking when they produced these ads for Super Bowl XLV. It was their first shot at the big time and they seem to have attracted a fair bit of controversy, being criticised for making light of the plight of the Tibetans, deforestation and declining whale populations.

Rohit Bhargava, a professor of marketing at Georgetown University, tweeted:

“Groupon seems to have achieved the unique feat of paying $3M to lose customers who previously loved them.”


Groupon have duly responded with the following statement to explain the ads:  “When groups of people act together to do something, it’s usually to help a cause. With Groupon, people act together to help themselves by getting great deals. So what if we did a parody of a celebrity-narrated, PSA-style commercial that you think is about some noble cause (such as “Save the Whales”), but then it’s revealed to actually be a passionate call to action to help yourself (as in “Save the Money”)?”

And here they are – love them or loathe them

What are your thoughts?


Jaime Steele

Jaime specialises in brand strategy, creative concepts, naming strategies, digital media marketing and technical project management. He has a strong background in delivering and managing social media and digital marketing campaigns for both small start-ups and blue chip companies.

He has also worked with many top professional athletes, advising on personal branding, sponsorship and social media.