[There was a video here]
Who is in charge of decision-making at Groupon? Because not only did the discount site turn down $6 billion from Google last year, they also produced the worst Super Bowl ad of 2011. And cast Timothy Hutton in it!
There must have been someone along the way who said, you know, "This isn't actually funny enough to overcome the callous treatment not just of Tibet but of earnest advocacy in general, guys," right? Wasn't there some courageous middle manager somewhere who said, "Listen, I totally 'get' the joke, it's just not that funny, and not really worth it, and weirdly hostile to Tibet, and people who try to make a difference," or something? Not even anyone who pointed out that Tibetans don't really eat a lot of fish?
I mean, yes, we were treated with casual, standard-issue misogyny (not to mention weird race stuff) from Pepsi Max (twice!), and aggressive, idiotic misogyny from GoDaddy (twice!). But those jokes were so dumb! The Groupon joke was almost high concept—or, at least, what passes for high-concept with this stuff—and it just fell completely flat on its face.
And, Timothy Hutton! What? Did you need to buy some Oscar polish, dude?
Update: Turns out Groupon set up a website for the specific causes in their Superbowl ads, and are matching donations. Which is, actually, totally great! And laudable! And makes the ads less "offensive" and more just "stupid." I mean, why not mention that in the ad? But I guess I actually "get" the joke now. (But really, how hard would it be, white text on black background with the donation website address? Five seconds would be more than enough.)