Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Why The Groupon Ads Were A Good Thing

I know there was a lot of negative publicity for the recent Groupon ads that aired during the Super Bowl, and I find myself in a rather unique position as I actually thought that some good actually came out of them.

The sad truth is, most of the time when an ad bought by a public advocacy group comes on, you know that a lot of people tune it out. You know it and I know it. I hate to admit that, but I am certainly guilty of tuning them out. And yet as tasteless as it seemed presented as part of a pitch for a website, the front-end information presented in those ads reached a very receptive audience, as the commercials are as much a part of the Super Bowl watching experience as the actual game. And aside from a few of the most well-funded groups, there would be little chance that an organization could buy ad time to air that message to so receptive an audience.

And the discussion about these ads on television and online allowed the first half of these ads to be shown repeatedly or made people who hadn't seen them to watch them and then think about why they were offensive. Which means that for at least a brief time, a large number of people were thinking about the problems facing Tibet and the Brazilian rain forest. That isn't valuable, even given the commercial trappings that created that interest?

I am not defending the ads for being tasteful in any way because I agree that they were tasteless. However, I still think a greater good ended up being served from their creation and distribution.

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