Groupon's recent Super Bowl ad ruffled a lot of feathers. It's been decried as tasteless and offensive. But I found it daring and effective. Both in raising awareness, and most likely money, for the Tibetan cause as well as expanding Groupon's brand awareness. It has yet to be seen if Groupon will come out with increased positive or negative brand awareness. But they definitely got our attention.
So, I grant that Tibet is a sensitive topic.
But is it really that offensive to raise awareness for an oppressed people, praise its culture (in this case Tibetian cuisine- albeit a dish, fish curry, they purportedly don't serve or eat) and then promote your service?
If you follow that logic you could find fault with many cause-based marketing efforts.
Brands have a long history of aligning with causes. Sometimes they do it in very serious ways, some times comedic, sometimes a mix like this ad. Generally speaking it doesn't denigrate a cause to have a mutually beneficial relationship with a brand.
I don't think the Tibetan cause was hurt by this ad. I would argue it was almost certainly helped. Interestingly enough, it sounds like there are
One final thought- Maybe the best way to save the Tibetan culture is to stop treating it like an artifact from an extinct civilization. These are living, human beings with a rich cultural heritage. Are the Tibetan people not allowed to open a restaurant and partner with Groupon to leverage their heritage to attract new customers?
What do you think? Was it a bad, tastless move by Groupon? Or sneaky, philanthropic genius?