(Image source: The Real Timer)

 

BY SIWEN LI

 

You're watching multisource business news analysis from Newsy

 

While the Green Bay Packers celebrate their Super Bowl Victory, critics say Groupon might be the biggest loser on Super Bowl night, in the competition of advertising.

 

Groupon’s Super Bowl ad featured Tibetan actors and a Chicago-area restaurant. Actor Timothy Hutton is served a Tibetan meal.

 

HUTTON: "The Tibetan people are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at Groupon.com, we’re each getting $30 of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalyan Restaurant in Chicago.” (Youtube)

 

Twitter users and bloggers immediately responded the advertisement was outrageous and insensitive.

 

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal says the Chicago-based Internet coupon company “cheapened itself with a Super Bowl ad … that trivialized the oppression of the people of Tibet...”

 

Groupon Chief Executive, Andrew Mason tells The Wall Street Journal he didn’t consider the ad to be offensive, calling it a “spoof.” But Vivek Kunwar, a co-owner of the Himalayan Restaurant said it was an “uh-oh” moment even for him in a phone interview with CNN.

 

“When we were shown the script, it sounded pretty good. However, the way the ad was made was not in good taste. … Our name was used, but the way the ad was presented really wasn't done very well. It could offend people definitely.”

 

The Super Bowl usually comes and goes without much notice from China. But this year, the football event gained much more attention. Chinese Internet users are showing displeasure at the ad, denouncing Groupon for mixing business with politics. User posts on Sina.com’s microblog are biting in their criticism of the commercial.

 

User Vicky wrote, “I used to visit Groupon a lot, but I will never use it any more. I look down upon this kind of company, which is on one hand trying to make money in China, on the other hand is hurting Chinese feelings.”

 

The timing of the commercial could be questionable at best. Rumors have circled for weeks that Groupon was in talks with its Chinese partner Tencent. Gady Epstein, from Forbes Beijing dispatch said on his blog the ad would do Groupon no favors in trying to expand operations in China.

 

“China and many of its citizens do not generally have a sense of humor about Tibet… In the end it may not be a deal-killer, as it were, but Groupon’s numerous clones in China will be pleased…”

 

But as the old saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.” Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici is in that camp.

 

“Of course, the fact that so many people are talking about Groupon’s commercial could be construed as evidence that it was a successful spot, not a screw-up.”

 

So, what do you think? Is Groupon's Tibet-themed commercial offensive or just harmless fun?

 

Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy

Transcript by Newsy

Groupon Draws Backlash with Tibet-Themed Super Bowl Ad

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Feb 8, 2011

Groupon Draws Backlash with Tibet-Themed Super Bowl Ad

(Image source: The Real Timer)

 

BY SIWEN LI

 

You're watching multisource business news analysis from Newsy

 

While the Green Bay Packers celebrate their Super Bowl Victory, critics say Groupon might be the biggest loser on Super Bowl night, in the competition of advertising.

 

Groupon’s Super Bowl ad featured Tibetan actors and a Chicago-area restaurant. Actor Timothy Hutton is served a Tibetan meal.

 

HUTTON: "The Tibetan people are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at Groupon.com, we’re each getting $30 of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalyan Restaurant in Chicago.” (Youtube)

 

Twitter users and bloggers immediately responded the advertisement was outrageous and insensitive.

 

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal says the Chicago-based Internet coupon company “cheapened itself with a Super Bowl ad … that trivialized the oppression of the people of Tibet...”

 

Groupon Chief Executive, Andrew Mason tells The Wall Street Journal he didn’t consider the ad to be offensive, calling it a “spoof.” But Vivek Kunwar, a co-owner of the Himalayan Restaurant said it was an “uh-oh” moment even for him in a phone interview with CNN.

 

“When we were shown the script, it sounded pretty good. However, the way the ad was made was not in good taste. … Our name was used, but the way the ad was presented really wasn't done very well. It could offend people definitely.”

 

The Super Bowl usually comes and goes without much notice from China. But this year, the football event gained much more attention. Chinese Internet users are showing displeasure at the ad, denouncing Groupon for mixing business with politics. User posts on Sina.com’s microblog are biting in their criticism of the commercial.

 

User Vicky wrote, “I used to visit Groupon a lot, but I will never use it any more. I look down upon this kind of company, which is on one hand trying to make money in China, on the other hand is hurting Chinese feelings.”

 

The timing of the commercial could be questionable at best. Rumors have circled for weeks that Groupon was in talks with its Chinese partner Tencent. Gady Epstein, from Forbes Beijing dispatch said on his blog the ad would do Groupon no favors in trying to expand operations in China.

 

“China and many of its citizens do not generally have a sense of humor about Tibet… In the end it may not be a deal-killer, as it were, but Groupon’s numerous clones in China will be pleased…”

 

But as the old saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.” Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici is in that camp.

 

“Of course, the fact that so many people are talking about Groupon’s commercial could be construed as evidence that it was a successful spot, not a screw-up.”

 

So, what do you think? Is Groupon's Tibet-themed commercial offensive or just harmless fun?

 

Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy

Transcript by Newsy

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