After a week of suffering the wrath of those offended by the ad campaign kicked off by their Super Bowl ad, Groupon’s CEO, Andrew Mason, is giving up on the campaign. Tuesday he tried to damage control by explaining the intent of the ads as a self-parody.
When that didn’t stop the tidal wave of negativity toward Groupon’s reputation, and in some cases inflamed people to get even more upset, his blog post today said they were cancelling the campaign immediately. Here is his post:
Five days have passed since the Super Bowl, and one thing is clear – our ads offended a lot of people. 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 hate that we offended people, and we’re very sorry that we did – it’s the last thing we wanted. 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). We will run something less polarizing instead. We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn’t come through. I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads.
To the charities (for which we expect to net over $500,000) and others that have spoken out on our behalf, we appreciate your support.
To those who were offended, I feel terrible that we made you feel bad. While we’ve always been a little quirky, we certainly aren’t trying to be the kind of company that builds its brand on creating controversy – we think the quality of our product is a much stronger message.
Thanks for taking the time to read,
The speed of change in business has never been greater and that means your business reputation can change just as quickly. Instead of defending and explaining his ads on Tuesday, chances are some damage would’ve been mitigated with full blown apology and yanking of the ads immediately following the fall out.
Reaction times have to be swift, sincere and significant with the speed of information exchange. Ultimately they reached the right conclusion, but at what cost?