Within minutes of this commercial airing during last night’s Super Bowl game, emails, tweets, updates and blog posts began zipping across the Interwebs decrying the insensititvity of Groupon using the plight of Tibetans, who’ve been suppressed by the Chinese government for decades, with the Dalai Lama ruling in exile. The spot starts out sounding like a call to help protect Tibetan culture, but then cuts to actor Timothy Hutton, the narrator, chowing down on Tibetan Fish Curry for half price, thanks to Groupon’s daily deal.
I mean, Tibetan Fish Curry? Thai Fish Curry maybe, or Indian. But Tibet’s about as landlocked a country as you can imagine — it’s the rooftop of the world, after all. Helloooo, Himalayas?
Groupon isn’t helping to soothe any offended viewers (many of whom are promising to quit Groupon’s daily deals), by giving this flip non-apology and a link where they’ll match donations to charities:
“We certainly donâ€™t mean to offend with our advertisements. We think renting celebrities to promote our â€œSave the Moneyâ€ campaign is pretty funny, but we understand if it doesnâ€™t tickle you the right way.”
Shame on Hutton, Groupon, and ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
Read Joz Wang’s reaction in 8Asians, “Controversial Groupon Super Bowl Commercial Exploits Tibet for Laughs.” Couldn’t have said it better.
Here’s the Chicago Tribune: “Grouponâ€™s Super Bowl â€˜Tibetâ€™ commercial draws harsh reaction“