Fleishman steps in to cool Groupon backlash
Shanghai - Groupon will expand its PR contract with Fleishman-Hillard across Mainland China after its Super Bowl commercial created a firestorm of criticism.
The PR agency was charged to oversee PR and media relations for Groupon in Hong Kong last year, and is expected to take on similar responsibility for the China market following the public outcry.
Groupon's troubled ad, reportedly worth US$3 million, ignited outrage in both the US and China, with some saying Groupon is trivialising the Tibet struggle while others didn't like the fact that it declared the Tibetan people are "in trouble".
The spot opens with beautiful shots of the landscape of Tibet, while actor Timothy Hutton narrates "The Tibetan people are in trouble, their very culture is in jeopardy".
Then comes the unexpected as Hutton adds: "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry" as he sits comfortably in a Himalayan restaurant in the US.
He goes on to explain how he can save $15 for the fish curry by using Groupon.Founder and chief executive of Groupon Andrew Mason issued a letter a day after the ad was aired, explaining how it highlights the often trivial nature of stuff on Groupon when juxtaposed against bigger world issues.
"Even if we didn't take them as seriously as we do, what type of company would go out of their way to be so antagonistic?" Mason wrote.
The ad received almost one million views on YouTube in three days.
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