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Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations
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Groupon: Super Bowl Tibet Ad Issue & Implications in Pubic Relations

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Aired during the 2011 Superbowl, Groupon's Tibet Ad was found “offensive,” “misguided,” “insensitive,” and “dumb, dumber, dumbest” by several different commercial reviews. …

Aired during the 2011 Superbowl, Groupon's Tibet Ad was found “offensive,” “misguided,” “insensitive,” and “dumb, dumber, dumbest” by several different commercial reviews.
This presentation outlines the public relations implications that came from the Groupon: Save the Money, Tibet advertisement.

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  • -An estimated 111 million people watched the game this year, and it is no secret that the main attraction is not always the game itself. -Stephen Master, vice president of Nielsen Sports media research, estimates that close to 50 percent of Super Bowl viewers actually watch the commercials more than they watch the game (Dorsett, 2011). -Shortly following the Super Bowl it can be expected that just about every news show, website, or blog will cover their top 10 best and worst Super Bowl commercials. Alongside the best and worst lists, there are often a few ads that stick out as inappropriate. One such ad was called “offensive,” “misguided,” “insensitive,” and “dumb, dumber, dumbest” by several different commercial reviews. The ad in scrutiny was run by Groupon – Save the money.
  • Alongside the best and worst lists, there are often a few ads that stick out as inappropriate. Groupon’s Tibet ad was called “offensive,” “misguided,” “insensitive,” and “dumb, dumber, dumbest” by several different commercial reviews.
  • Founder and CEO, Andrew Mason first developed the a website called The Point, launched in 2007. It’s because of this website that Mason can claim that Groupon’s roots are in social activism. Groupon’s roots are in social activism. The Point that was used to gather support for all types of causes. One such campaign rounded up several thousand supporters with the plan to build a dome over Chicago to keep the city warm all year. But ThePoint's most effective campaigns banded consumers together to gain buying power. Mason began featuring a blog that offered readers a different deal from various every day which then developed into Groupon.com Groupon makes commission on ever “Deal of the Day” that is activated. First, a predetermined number of shoppers have to purchase a deal, then money changes hands, Groupon makes a profit, and the members receive the featured coupon.
  • Groupon’s Super Bowl Commercial was the work of Crispin Porter + Bogusky ad agency, and was signed off by CEO, Andrew Mason, who took full responsibility for the ad five days after its air (Carr, 2011). Groupon purchased a Super Bowl time slot for the ad; three million dollars later they they had stirred up a lot of controversy.SHOCKWAVE – DELETE “WATCH ?” AND REPLACE “?” WITH “/”
  • Immediately after the commercial aired on February 6, Twitter lit up with comments about how “offensive” and “tasteless” the 30-second ad was.Hundreds of tweeters also told their friends they unsubscribed from Groupon.Viewers across the country wondered if in Groupon’s mind a discounted fish curry trumps the troubles in Tibet. And by later that evening and the following day Groupon was receiving media coverage every hour about their tasteless ad (MacDonald, 2011). During ad comparisons, Groupon was continually found in the bottom 10 Super Bowl ads in all types of media outlets.Many thinkthat Groupon’s ad was more than just tasteless. Chris MacDonald, Ph.D, educator, speaker, and consultant in the realm of business ethics says Groupon was unethical.From his first blog about the ad, MacDonald wrote, “To recruit — and then trivialize — the plight of the people of Tibet to sell Groupon’s services shows a jaw-dropping level of disrespect. And while we often think of disrespect as a matter of bad manners, showing suitable respect for other humans’ basic needs and interest is a core moral principle”Groupon violated three of PRSA’s core values in the PRSA Member Code of Ethics. Expertise, loyalty, and fairness.-Groupon violated the expertise value simply because it was unprofessional. While other Super Bowl commercials may not be seen as professional because of their use of alcohol or cliché humor, these other commercials do not violate or disrespect others. -Groupon violated also the loyalty value. On Groupon’s website, they claim, “Our company philosophy is pretty simple: we treat our customers the way we like to be treated.” Groupon was in the works of doing business with China prior to the ad. The people of China and Tibet undoubtedly appreciate the way their people were treated on the Super Bowl ad. Thousands of Chinese reportedly responded negatively to the “Tibet” ad on the Internet after the ad was made available (Lazare, 2011). -Finally Groupon violated the fairness core value. Under this value in the PRSA code of ethics it says, “We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression” (Wilcox, 2005). Groupon was certainly expressing themselves freely, but it was through unfairly exploiting the troubles of another culture.
  • Groupon was slow to actually apologize to the public. On Monday (the following day) Groupon released this statement to Time Magazine which, along with other PR statements, were called “non-apology apologies by the Wall Street Journal”
  • -if Andrew Mason had read Hendrix and Hayes, Public Relations Cases from 439 he would have known “that if an organization is caught by the ubiquitous mass media in an unethical practice, this will become a headline news story and perhaps blot out previous positive accomplishments. Various professional organizations have standards for ethical conduct. -Instead Mason focused on his online blog, GroupBlogPon. Through the blog he attempted to explain Groupon’s reasoning for launching the tibetad. He wrote that the ad is poking fun of Groupon and they would never have run those ads if they thought they trivilazed the causes. Essentially he is saying the ad is sort of an inside joke. But it is not beyond deduction that some to most people did not get that joke. -He then explains the ad’s use for the “oposite effect” meaning that by using half the 30-second slot to focus on Tibet’s problems, Groupon was raising awareness about Tibet.-Tuesday I posted an explanation, but as many of you have pointed out, if an ad requires an explanation, that means it didn’t work.
  • We hate that we offended people, and we’re very sorry that we did – it’s the last thing we wanted. He tells the readers that Groupon will pull the ads by the following day.
  • Then he reminds everyone that “We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn’t come through.” I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads.Five days is simply too long to release an apology. Groupon was portrayed themselves as insensitive and obsessed with consumerism. As PR professionald we are expected to respond within 24 hours if not within THE hour. And although Groupon was not silent, they did not do what their publics wanted: apologize.
  • Business Insider did a survey about Groupon mid-March of this year. -Of the 931 of those surveyed, Business insider concluded that people seemed to no longer care about the Groupon Super Bowl ad.Business insider also learned that Groupon could IPO at an outstanding $25 billion value! (this basically means they could issue public shares for the first time up to this value)-But still today, I can bet that many question the Groupon’s maturity and ability to handle themselves in times of misunderstanding or crises.
  • My suggestions for Groupon would have been-to apologize first and explain later. I’m sure Andrew Mason thinks thought he should stand his grounds, but you don’t want to mess with 111 million people, media, and social media.-Groupon was affective in training their customer service providers with unanimous and sufficient information to use when replying to angry phone calls.-Since Groupon emphasized so much their history in social activism, I would have advised that Groupon feature a philanthorpic Groupon for a day. For example, they could have posted the groupon, “$10 for a $25 donation” for a worthy cause. Meaning the Groupon buyers would pay $10.00 and Groupon would match that with an additional $5.00 for a donation.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Megan Haeffele
    • 2. Super Bowl Tibet AdIssue & implications in pubic relations
    • 3. 2011 Super Bowl XLV• An estimated 111 million viewers• Nearly 50% watch the commercials more than they watch the game• Media covers 10 best and worst Super Bowl commercials.
    • 4. Ouch
    • 5. Once Upon a GrouponFounder & CEO, The Point BullAndrew + .org - campaigns = Mason
    • 6. America’s response• Unfavorable Tweets• Unsubscribers• Media attention that evening and the following days to come• Bottom 10 of Super Bowl Ad comparisons• Unethical
    • 7. Who had heard of Groupon prior to this year’s Super Bowl? Who has since made an account with Groupon?
    • 8. Non-apology apologyWe wanted to clarify the intention of theSuper Bowl ad yesterday. The humor wasdesigned to draw attention to causesincluding Greenpeace, The Tibet Fund, andRainforest Action Network. Grouponactually started as a collective action andphilanthropy site(ThePoint.com). Collective action is inGroupons DNA and this campaign pokes funat its own roots. Anyone can goto www.SaveTheMoney.org (launchedbefore the ads aired yesterday) and andhelp these causes
    • 9. Groupon’s Reaction• GrouBlogPon• Groupon’s roots are in social activism• Sort of an inside Joke• “Opposite effect” will raise awareness about Tibet• 5 days later….• It didn’t work
    • 10. “We hate that weoffended people, andwe’re very sorry thatwe did – it’s the lastthing we wanted.”
    • 11. “We thought we were pokingfun at ourselves, butclearly the execution wasoff and the joke didn’tcome through.”
    • 12. So, do we forgive Groupon?• Business Insider Survey • People seemed to no longer care about the ad• IPO at $25 billion!• Professionals still question Groupon’s maturity
    • 13. Suggestions• Apologize first, explain later• Groupon was affective in customer service training• Larger philanthropic gesture

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