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 head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.