Super Bowl Ad Update: Groupon Gives Up The Ghost


By Arturo R. García

After getting pelted with a flurry of criticism, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason announced on Friday that it would be pulling its’ “Tibetan restaurant” Super Bowl commercial from the air.

What he didn’t do was apologize.

Instead, his statement on the company’s blog hit on some all-too-familiar talking points for non-culpa explanations, like, “We hate that we offended people, and we’re very sorry that we did,” and, “To those who were offended, I feel terrible that we made you feel bad.”

The ad, the second in a series of commercials to air throughout the day Feb. 6, veered from having actor Timothy Hutton seemingly discussing the plight of the people of Tibet to boasting about getting a good deal at a Chicago restaurant thanks to Groupon. According to Mason, the ad, which cost $100,000 per second during the Super Bowl, will have stopped airing as of Feb. 12.

Meanwhile, the Pepsi Max “Love Hurts” commercial, which featured a hyper-aggressive black woman physically harassing her husband into sticking with his diet, and then hitting a white woman with a can after he ogles a white woman, has picked up at least one defender since drawing its’ own share of online criticism. In a column earlier this week, the Daily Beast’s Raina Kelly called it “classic marital humor”:

If kicking your husband under the table defines a mean, angry, emasculating shrew, than I am guilty as charged and a disgrace to black women everywhere. Allow me the slightest autobiography in explanation. Not long ago, my husband volunteered to shovel my parents’ roof. It was a lovely thing to do, but saving his in-laws’ house was no defense when he expressed doubts about my proposed safety precautions. My response? “If you take that rope off your waist, I’ll come out there and kill you myself.” Yes, I played into stereotype, but hurling threats is a lot more efficient than calming (and whitely?) saying, “Honey, darling, love of my life. I would be bereft and despairing if you fell and broke your neck. Please wear the rope. It may be pointless but it would soothe my agitated soul.” I was trying to save a life, same as the wife in the Pepsi Max commercial. Obesity related diseases run rampant in the black community. Just being black is a risk factor for these illnesses so I say she should be applauded for her efforts, not demonized.

Picture courtesy of Shanghaiist