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Monday, February 7, 2011


Just had to get that off my chest. Fuck you for exploiting the people of Tibet, fuck you for destroying local businesses and fuck you Timothy Hutton for taking that job.


  1. But they just gave a Tibetan restaurant more visibility. That's a good thing right, to promote Asian-American owned businesses?

  2. Well, the problem here is that Groupon didn't think the whole campaign through and assumed that we were mind readers. There was a charitable campaign behind this from the beginning, but they failed to mention it and that was incredibly stupid.

    Taken at face value, these are obviously offensive, but if the Groupon ad guys had taken the time to do their job properly and let us know in the ads that we were saving money for something other than ourselves it would have been much more effective. No where in the Tibet Ad does it say that there is a partnership with the Tibet Fund and the watcher is left to conclude that Groupon was trivializing and extremely important issue.

    Here is a link to Groupon's blog as it tries to dig itself out of the very deep whole that it's dug:

  3. Really, Tak. It looks like you got a little ahead of yourself there. Read the blog post Andrea pointed out and follow the links.

  4. I took a look at the video here (I guess I was lucky enough to have missed it at game time).

    The spot made little sense to me. Seemed like a really lame attempt at humor.

    I checked out Andrea's link to groupon... it is an interesting read, but it's way too long and detailed and I certainly didn't see anyplace where the writer made any attempt at a sincere apology.

    What I got from reading the "back story" link is that groupon is sorry only that the viewers didn't get the joke (if there really is a joke here). I have to agree that it's really a very poor commercial and an even more horrible attempt at an apology.


  5. The point is that there's no apology to be made. They are not using Tibet to make money, they are helping Tibet. They are not making fun of Tibet, they are making fun of themselves.

    If there's any apology to be made is to be sorry for their explanation being too long for some people's short attention span.

  6. There absolutely IS an apology to be made. Groupon was completely idiotic in their selection of material. And enough with the “let’s just try to get the joke” excuses – I’ve been to Tibet and seen the suffering of the people first hand. I’ve seen the frostbitten hands and feet of monks and lay people who’ve managed to escape to India. It’s just ridiculous that they would pick this to advertise their crap service. Why don’t they run a series of ads with scar-laden Rawandan refugees – we’ll slice off prices!? How about some images of hiroshima / nagasaki – it’s a bomb of a deal?! Honestly, I just don’t understand what they were possibly thinking. And I totally am not drinking the ridiculous “we’re doing it for charity” punch – their costs for this pathetic and insulting ad way outnumbers any contribution they've made to the cause. And by the way, have you (Hrimhari) even tried their savethemoney website? It's down and takes you to Groupon. Seems like that argument about raising awareness/money falls rather flat. I completely agree w/ SAM - fuck groupon and their apologist groupees. I hope they crush themselves with the weight of their outsized smugness.

  7. More offensive than their goofy ads is Groupon's business practice and their effect on smaller local businesses. The core of their business is sound: offer steep discounts to customers in exchange for bringing in higher volume to businesses who may be struggling to bring in new customers.

    Groupon is GREAT for customers who can save as much as 90% on goods and services. And Groupon does, in fact, bring in a lot of new customers. But almost all businesses report losses during Groupon deals. But wait, won't those new customers come back and pay regular prices because they had such a great experience? Only to a lucky few. The fact of the matter is the average Groupon user is as strapped for cash as the businesses and will simply move on the the next deal. And since most businesses try it once and stop because of the strain on their business to provide the discounted service, most Groupon customers do not return.

    There's a guy (The Groupawn - who is living for a year on nothing but Groupon deals which is a perfect illustration of the transient nature of a Groupon customer's loyalty.

    I don't see Groupon lasting more than 2-3 more years in its current state . It will either completely go away or, more likely, try yo position itself to be a one-stop shopping destination for sales that businesses can use to promote deals but at much less significant discounts and maybe try to tap into more national retailer chains.

  8. @Jerry: I hope you didn't stop on the very first link of many on that long explanation. Have you checked Greenpeace's support and Rainforest Action Network's support? Hint: they are in the before-last paragraph.

    I see three issues being discussed here:

    Issue 1: Groupon ads seem offensive.

    Issue 2: with their ads, Groupon steps on the suffering's shoulders to make money for themselves.

    Issue 3: Groupon business is bad for smaller local business.

    Disclaimer: I hadn't even heard about Groupon before Tak's post. Yes, I'm an alien (in US immigration terms :)

    My view on Issue 1 is that, if I were the target of, or affected by their pun, I could have been offended. For example, if I were defending the cause of whales or Tibet or if I was Tibetan, saw their ads and never heard about their charity program, I'd be likely to be offended. In that sense, I agree that their ads are of dubious taste, especially lacking some fine print to explain the joke.

    In the other hand, I would be able to accept being the target of such a pun if it brought relief to my suffering or income to my cause.

    I understand that none of you is really into one of the above situations but you're putting yourselves in the place of people who are. It's a very noble thing to do and I embrace this philosophy.

    But unless you have any real example of people directly affected by these puns being offended to the point of not wanting Groupon's help to their cause, I find all this rage a bit too much.

    Issue 2. To me, after their explanation and Greenpeace's support, it became a non-issue.

    Issue 3, I can't say anything about it as I'm not the owner of any business. I take it that Tak knows some ex-owners which were sent out of business due to Groupon. If so, it would be nice to mention that.

    It would still be an interesting feat to make this connection (Groupon = out of business), considering the delicate situation that US economy is in right now.

    As it is now, it sounds like a mighty overreaction over misunderstandings and speculation that is lasting a little too long.

  9. I think the long term danger here is what consumers will become accustomed to. If we, as consumers, become more loyal to lower prices than we are to quality goods we will go the way of Walmart's business model which has been very successful in lowering prices for customers but also massively increasing our import of foreign goods and making competition for smaller main street stores almost impossible.

    I'm not saying that Groupon's business model is completely wrong. I'm saying that it offers too severe a discount for businesses to sustain so any relief it may bring will be very temporary. Plus the fact that Groupon making money further takes money out of your community unless Groupon's headquarters happens to be in your neighborhood.

    Indeed I deal with lots of local businesses at the newspaper where I work and have heard stories about the allure of Groupon and the false sense of hope it can generate. I've heard Groupon crowds have being compared to a swarm of locusts, devouring every deal in sight and leaving devastation behind. OK, a little dramatic but it's an interesting analogy.

  10. Tak, just to have it clear. Is this what you're saying:

    1. Groupon customers are worthless to the business which participate to Groupon, maybe even dangerous to the point that the business has to close after their visit, and

    2. Groupon is fabricating an habit to look for low prices in detriment to quality.

    I still can't say about (1) since I haven't had the opportunity to check it. But (2)? Really? When people are on a budget, they will save. When they aren't, they'll spend their money with secondary pleasures. See pyramid of needs.

    I seriously doubt that Groupon "creates" these people. In my opinion, it just concentrates them.

    Of course that many could avoid this habit by being informed of the damages caused by prioritizing money over everything else. But just like many other causes, it's hard to convert a non believer, that is, somebody which isn't already spread-open to the idea of doing "good".

    What about the origin of the controversy which was the ads of dubious tastes (especially Tibet) and Groupon preying on noble causes to make money?

    And finally, out of curiosity, do you still feel like the "general f- you" was justified?

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