Now that we’ve covered "the good" of the Superbowl commercials, let’s talk about the bad and the ugly…and what can be learned from them.
We’ll start with one of the more controversial series of spots…
Save the Whales
This is the less tacky of the spots, though giving the idea that although it’s nice to save the whales, it’s better to save money is still missing the humor mark. But in the next spot…
Some people seemed to think this one was funny, while others were offended. I tend not to be too thin-skinned, but I did agree that this was a mistake. I was surprised that after the Kenneth Cole debacle this week that they decided to go through with these spots, even considering the financial cost of them.
Now, Groupon did clarify the thought process behind the commercials with this post. And while I think it’s great that they suggest people donate money to the causes they were parodying, the spots were still a tasteless mistake. The lesson here is that humor is something you have to be careful with – what one person might find funny, a lot of others might not. You’ve got to know and understand your audience.
Secondarily, I’m not sure how well the ads actually reinforce Groupon’s product. I’m a big fan of Groupon, but I’ve had a lot of trouble describing to friends and family what they’re all about. I don’t think I’m the only one. Their commercials could have broken that down a bit better. I think they were a fail all around.
For a great explanation that delves into this a bit further, check out Liz Strauss’ post "Groupon Super Bowl Ad: When Being Clever Offends and How to Win One for Tibet"