Groupon Feels Social Media Justice
The guacamole and chips are long gone, the friendly banter has subsided, and Groupon continues to feel the sting of their Super Bowl Tibet spot. Socialnomics author Erik Qualman writes: “Interesting that a social media company [Groupon] didn’t understand the social media backlash it could receive by running a culturally insensitive advertisement…” And that backlash was swift, with viewers quickly posting their displeasure on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Groupon CEO Andrew Mason responded Monday in a blog post. He writes “Our ads highlight the often trivial nature of stuff on Groupon when juxtaposed against bigger world issues, making fun of Groupon.” He also listed the various causes for which his company raises money as well as directed attention to other advertisers’ “crass objectification of women.” The post, however, fell short of a straightforward apology.
Comments responding to Mason’s post were mixed. Some were supportive; but many were still incensed. One writer posted: “GENOCIDE JUST ISN’T FUNNY.”
Will the debacle devalue Groupon? How many customers will it lose to what was, at best, an ill-conceived ad, and, at worst, a trivialization of a serious human rights issue?
As with any firm caught up in the swift justice of the social media nation, Groupon will need to continue collecting media intelligence and use it to make informed decisions.