On Monday we brought you the story of the Groupon Super Bowl ads that were causing quite the stir across the internet. One made fun of the "save the whales" mantra, while another poked fun at the Tibetan people. At the time, Groupon defended the ads by pointing out that those who watch them online can donate to charity. But alas, Groupon finally succumbed to the pressure and pulled the ads Thursday night.
"Five days have passed since the Super Bowl, and one thing is clear – our ads offended a lot of people," Groupon CEO Andrew Mason wrote on the company's blog. "Tuesday I posted an explanation, but as many of you have pointed out, if an ad requires an explanation, that means it didn’t work."
"We’ve listened to your feedback, and since we don’t see the point in continuing to anger people, we’re pulling the ads (a few may run again tomorrow – pulling ads immediately is sometimes impossible)."
The ad that garnered the most attention featured actor Timothy Hutton in a fake PSA that originally appeared to be a warm defense of the Tibetan people and their suffering at the hands of China. In reality, it was really about people saving money with Groupon.
“The people of Tibet are in trouble,” Hutton says in the ad. “Their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry.” He goes on to explain that because 200 people signed up for a Groupon, they can all enjoy the great food.
On Monday, Glenn Beck responded to the ads by saying people have become too concerned with being politically correct.
”‘Oh, you can’t make fun of the whales and the Tibetan monks,'" he said jokingly. "Yeah. Yeah, you can. And they did it expertly. It’s Groupon. For the love of Pete, it’s a commercial. Stop taking it so seriously.”
According to Mason, the ads raised close to $500,000 for charity.