Groupon Pulls Controversial Ads, Apologizes for Offending Viewers
In a post on the company's blog, Groupon founder Andrew Mason announced that some of the satirical spots would still air today, but confirmed that the campaign would end thereafter. "We hate that we offended people, and we're very sorry that we did -- it's the last thing we wanted," Mason wrote. "We've listened to your feedback, and since we don't see the point in continuing to anger people, we're pulling the ads."
Groupon had previously defended the ads, which satirized humanitarian and environmental causes, on the grounds that it was simply trying to "bring more funding and support to the highlighted causes." Mason claimed that the company expects to "net over $500,000" for the charities mentioned in the ads, but acknowledged that the joke ultimately fell flat. "We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through," he continued. "I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads."