Content Marketing Blog

Groupon Super Bowl ad is bad news

Groupon, the popular discount voucher website, has been getting some negative press today after making a joke about Tibet in its Super Bowl ad.

Slots during the Super Bowl are among the most expensive television minutes advertisers can buy and the offerings of those rich enough to partake are news in themselves.

Brand managers battle to out-do one another knowing that the best spots will secure lots of free media on the television news, on blogs and on YouTube.

However, Groupon's ad appears to have gone down rather badly. Instead of going viral courtesy of its wit or originality it has earned the company some negative press and unwelcome comparisons to Kenneth Cole, the fashion designer that last week tried to use the unrest in Egypt to promote its spring collection.

Groupon gets close to 2 million Google searches a month and that figure is likely to have spiked today. Unfortunately, while the company's homepage and its Wikipedia entry are up there at the top, the news results that make the front page make unpleasant reading.

Google will often pull news stories into its universal results when there is fresh content available for a trending term.

This can work in a company's favour when it's getting positive coverage that searchers might otherwise not see. But it can also work in reverse, with embarrassing or negative stories there for all to see.

Marketing experts will debate the implications for Groupon. The ad looks ill-judged and insensitive, but it's not as if the possibility of negative press and a little social media backlash wouldn't have been discussed during the process.

On reflection, you'd have to assume that Groupon decided the short-term heat was worth it for the additional brand exposure.