Groupon Withdraws Those Ads Everyone's Been Complaining About

Well we never saw this coming — okay just kidding, really we saw this coming as soon as these ads aired: Groupon has decided to stop airing the controversial commercials they debuted during the Super Bowl, which played on organizations in need asking for help to promote their coupons for various businesses.

It seems that as soon as those spots hit screens, Groupon went from the darlings of consumers hungry for deals at restaurants, salons, and other local offerings, to a disparaged, big bad company set on forcing insensitivity upon the masses, via Timothy Hutton.

The end of this ad campaign, announced via numerous media outlets, including the New York Times media blog, signals an even bigger failure than just pulling commercials, as this was Groupon’s first foray into national TV advertising. Ouch!

“We hate that we offended people, and we’re very sorry that we did,” Andrew Mason, chief executive of Groupon, wrote in a post on Thursday on the corporate blog. “It’s the last thing we wanted.”

A total of three spots ran on Fox during Super Bowl XLV, including the Hutton ad, and two more with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Elizabeth Hurley. Each made fun of celebrities who tout world-saving causes. Even though the ads then directed attention to saving money with a Groupon, the company did have real campaigns in place to give to charitable organizations.

However, once you slide into having to explain a commercial after the fact, its effectiveness goes down the drain and everyone gets cranky.

“We thought we were poking fun at ourselves,” Mason wrote in another blog post, “but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn’t come through.”

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again, eh? There will be more Groupon ads in the future, promised Mason. Might we recommend throwing in some cute baby animals sliding down double rainbows and offers of free money? That should do the trick.

Groupon Corporate Blog [Groupon]