Nearing the 48 hour period after Super Bowl XLV and its 100+ million viewer victory, people are still buzzing about the other players in this sporting event: the commercials. Social channels were spilling content by the second on people’s reactions to the ads, with over 3 million tweets about Super Bowl XLV and over 300,000 of those being about the advertising alone. A seemingly small participant in the schedule of big shot brands made more media news than anyone: Groupon and their seriously not-so-serious set of ads. If the age-old saying “any publicity is good publicity,” then Groupon scored a touchdown. What does this mean for the future of the daily deal site? We can only speculate.
Groupon hit a few nerves on Super Bowl Sunday with one of their three ads that intended to poke fun at the company, rather than degrade a suffering nation. The controversy that spiraled viral across social channels pertained to the remark in their $3 million spot: “The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture is in jeopardy, but they still whip up an amazing fish curry.” The tone of the ad turns from solemn to sassy in mere seconds, causing confusion among many viewers as to why Groupon would lack judgment towards a touchy subject. The commercial ends with a call to action, like you would assume, to buy a Groupon and save money. In statements released in the last 48 hours from Groupon, the public is encouraged to visit savethemoney.groupon.com, a microsite where donations to each issue featured in Groupon’s commercials are introduced. The public was actually supposed to see the commercials as a way to save money and donate to the whales, the rainforest and Tibet. You didn’t see it then, but Groupon has used Twitter in the last two days to advertise the microsite to attract donations to each cause. This could be a considered a strategic blunder, or, in Groupon’s case, a way to take advantage of social media to keep the conversation going.
Many Twitter users wanted closure at the end of the spot with a link to the charities. Viewers shared in a common misconception that Groupon wanted to take important issues lightly and use them as a marketing ploy. Some twitter users found it a brilliant way to gain exposure. Although copycat site LivingSocial had its own place in the Super Bowl, it didn’t make much chatter after the fact. Whether users were bashing, admiring, or left wondering about Groupon’s strategy, people inevitably were still talking about them. In fact, Groupon ranked sixth in the top ten Super Bowl brands in terms of Twitter chatter, seeing over 22,000 posts about the topic.
The only thing left to do is wonder what the future of Groupon will hold. Although much negativity stemmed from the initial onslaught of twitter posts, there is still a glimmer of positive feedback. This may deter some of their loyal customers from ever using Groupon again, but may have recruited a whole new set of prospects that did utter a chuckle at the ads. This is also Groupon’s first time appealing to a mass audience which can only imply that Groupon is going to be a hard name to forget in the next few weeks. What we can see is Groupon taking the reins on Twitter and charging forward by “@” mentioning users with positive feedback to the ads and answering any questions regarding the concept. They are taking one for the team, but pushing towards a triumph using social media. We’ll just have to see if they get there.