Monday, February 7, 2011

Save the Money

With statements like "not all deforestation is bad," Groupon made a play for being the most controversial Super Bowl advertisement this year.
Money is one of our most important natural resources. Sadly, thousands of dollars are wasted every year. Until now.
I watched the Super Bowl last night. I saw these ads the first time around, but I didn't think much of them. I thought the one with Cuba Gooding Jr. was cheesy (fit for a Packers' Super Bowl). The ads didn't make a huge impression on me until this morning when a Facebook friend wrote on her wall that she is outraged about the Groupon commercials (and she was unsubscribing from Groupon).

I had to look at what was so offensive, and I have to admit, I thought the ad was pretty funny this morning (especially when I was paying attention). Was this a plan by Groupon? My Facebook friend has 612 friends. By posting on her wall about how outraged she is, she gave Groupon a second round of exposure to over 600 people.

The way I see it, this is purely an attention grab. With all the effort that goes into making Super Bowl commercials funny, competition for "favorite Super Bowl" ad is tough. The easiest way to stand out is to offend a vocal group of people with a lot of friends (and get them talking). That's exactly what Groupon did.

As a sidenote, it is not like they're actively degrading the environment. They're poking fun at a tired cliche. In the process, they might raise money to save the environment too.
And while some people won’t like the joke, Groupon isn’t being mean-spirited about it: its Save The Money site has offers for a variety of charity organizations. For example, making a $15 donation to GreenPeace will score you $15 in Groupon Credit (it’s essentially a free donation on your part).
Save The Money to save the environment? I don't know if it will work to stop deforestation, but it will get me a better price for that restaurant I have been meaning to try.

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