Today on the Groupon Blog, founder Andrew Mason spoke about his company’s set of Super Bowl advertisements:
When we think about commercials that offend us, we think of those that glorify antisocial behavior – like the scores of Super Bowl ads that are built around the crass objectification of women. [...] Ads are traditionally about shameless self promotion, and we’ve always strived to have a more honest and respectful conversation with our customers.
So basically instead of write a terse but thoughtful apology to those offended by his company’s outreach efforts, he managed to take a holier-than-thou attitude where, somehow, Groupon is righteous and all those misogynistic other advertisers suck.
Problem is: ads are meant, by design, to promote their advertiser. “Shameless self promotion” sounds about right. The truth is this, sales and marketing is about getting others to buy (into) you. There are a number of reasons why they might do this: they’re either buying you or they’re buying your product. Often both. For the former, maybe you’re charismatic, you’re persuasive, or you’re persistent (if you’re good at sales, probably all three). For the latter, your product is the best, the most useful or the cheapest. We love Apple (the best), we use Google (utility) and we buy Groupon (cheap) because they fit in these.
These aren’t the only reasons, of course. Values of the company (“Don’t Be Evil”) are important, and that’s why Mason had to respond today after being assailed on the Web for the past 24 hours.
The reason sales and marketing are lumped together is because they’re related: the client/customer isn’t just buying your wares, they’re buying YOU. So when Andrew Mason replied to criticism by scapegoating Bud Light (or whomever else), that’s not something very attractive to buy into.
Next time, tell us about the great savings, the instant deals and the local goodies available from your site, Andrew. Ironically enough, it’s Groupon which looks most self-congratulatory out of this whole thing…I don’t buy into this attitude of apology by way of our happiness that, “At least we didn’t do X” or “You should be happy we weren’t as sexist as Y.”
Just be one of those shameless self-promoters and espouse the benefits of your company – they’re numerous. That I’ll buy.
The Bay Area’s Year in Numbers: stats on (un)employment, food carts that tweet, composting, etc.
On the use of “y’all” in the singular and plural, in particular in the new Disney film, “Princess and the Frog.”
Apple won a dismissal of a court case against them for their iPod headphones. I think this is a good thing…to me it’s akin to the safe harbor protection for user-gen sites: it’s not Apple’s fault if people use the headphones at a high volume and blow out their eardrums.
As honor societies in high schools proliferate, the question of what they actually mean becomes more central, the New York Times reports. It’s a fair point, and another example of the arms race in high school record/resume amplification.
Finally, this is by far and away the best mash-up/recap of 2009 out there: