Savvy or Insensitive?

Ahh the Super Bowl, where companies spend millions to air on the most viewed ad space of the year. It also marked the debut of the first ads from crowd-sourced king; Groupon. The trio starred Cuba Gooding Jr, Elizabeth Hurley, and Timothy Hutton spoofing pro-social causes like saving the whales or freeing Tibet. You can see one of these ads below.

These ads have also managed to raise the ire of the online community. It’s been accused of insensitivity and attacking the roots of the brand’s origins. And in the wake of the Kenneth Cole disaster, it’s certainly created it’s own PR crisis. Perhaps almost anticipating this outcry, CEO Andrew Mason made a blog post a couple days ago stating that the company will make donations of up to $100,000 for the causes featured in the ads, plus a Groupon credit of up to $100,000 for contributions made to Greenpeace. Regardless, it looks like the ads are severely unpopular and people are generally pretty ticked.

Now here’s where I take the unpopular opinion. I like these ads, I even chuckled at them. Now I’m not going to profess that I’m a warrior for social justice. I don’t go out and protest, or crusade against large companies or go to rallies. The most I do is donate to Amnesty International each month to try and feel like I’m making a small difference somewhere in the world. That being said, I’d think this a lot of fuss for a couple of commercials. How many people have parodied the Save the Children campaign? Or any other number of “Only you can save _____” campaigns? And how many of these people who are outraged even do anything about the issues? I’m all for disagreement, but don’t condemn Groupon when you don’t even give a crap about Tibet, or the whales, or the rain forest. I think it’s very easy to sit on the pedestal of superiority and have the self-gratifying “I went to a rally once” attitude and rage on the internet about something you don’t even think about in your day to day life.

So, after that rant I want to say good on you Groupon for pushing the envelope and making a ballsy ad choice that has a horrible humour that I just can’t help but chuckle at. Don’t let the knee-jerk reaction of people who like to be outraged to be socially aware bog you down too much.

2 Responses to “Savvy or Insensitive?”
  1. soobie says:

    Completely agree! I saw the Cuba Gooding Jr. ad and once I realized “so that’s where Cuba Gooding Jr. has been all this time”, I laughed out loud. But I immediately also thought that people are going to be pissed at that ad and not get the joke.

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