Man, isn’t the plight of the Tibetan people hilarious? Groupon hit a real nerve last night with a Super Bowl commercial that seemed to exploit said plight for yucks. “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their culture is in jeopardy,” says narrator Timothy Hutton. “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry.” The ad—part of a whole series of mock-PSAs—generated an instant backlash on Twitter and YouTube for its insensitivity, the Huffington Post reports.
To be fair, the company has offered to match donations to the causes it parodies. But at the same time, even jokingly referencing the Tibet situation has infuriated China, and may throw a monkey wrench in the company’s expansion plans, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Can anyone be more stupid than Groupon?” asked one Chinese blogger. “Made its first TV commercial as controversial as possible. Good job!” Other ads generating buzz included:
- Chrysler’s cinematic 2-minute “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Eminem was “the big story of the night,” a company that tracks online buzz tells the AP.
- Volkswagen’s young Darth Vader ad went viral before it even aired. “It really wasn't selling a car,” says one communications professor. “It was selling a feeling."
- GoDaddy also made waves with its Joan Rivers commercial… but perhaps the less said of that, the better.
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