Super Bowl XLV Commercial: Last Night’s Big Mistake

You’d think Crispin Porter + Bogusky and director Christopher Guest would know better, but no.

Groupon is being vilified on the Web for running an insensitive Super Bowl ad last night. I have to admit, the spot above contains one of the worst transitions I’ve ever seen. You don’t go from talking about the plight of the Tibetan people to a pitch for discounted Tibetan food at a Chicago restaurant seamlessly. But even if the transition was forced, it would be better than what we have here, which comes off like a mockery.
Rex Hammock, Founder/CEO of Hammock Inc., is one of many who are ripping Groupon a new one over this.

I love comedy and irony; satire and parody. I love irreverence and typically enjoy when savvy jabs are directed at political correctness.
But when wit is replaced with contrived controversy and a complete lack of any common sense or understanding of the context in which your attempted ham-fisted joke is lobbed, I’m sorry: You’re just stupid.

The thing that’s truly surprising is that the ad doesn’t come full circle. On Groupon’s microsite where the Super Bowl ad, pre-game ad and post-game ad are offered, it’s clear that there is a charitable giving aspect to the campaign. But that’s nowhere in the spots themselves, which leaves the viewer wondering what just happened.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.