Groupon CEO Andrew Mason took to the web again Thursday to announce that the group-discount company will be pulling its controversial Super Bowl ads from the airwaves. In the blog post, Mason took personal responsibility for the ads and wrote that they will be replaced by “something less polarizing.”
The ads were the creation of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the Boulder, Colorado-based ad agency that was the subject of a recent Fast Company profile. Five days after critics accused the agency’s ads of trivializing the political struggle in Tibet, Mason has decided the Super Bowl spots went too far.
“One thing is clear–our ads offended a lot of people,” he wrote. (A firestorm of comments from Fast Company readers about the commercial certainly confirms this fact.) “We hate that we offended people, and we’re sorry that we did it.”
Versions of the ad uploaded to YouTube by Groupon were also set to “private” and not viewable by the general public, although others have posted unofficial rips of the spots.
Though Mason did not name Crispin Porter + Bogusky by name in the apology (he mentioned them in an earlier post), he did publicly criticize their work. “If an ad requires an explanation, that means it didn’t work,” Mason said. “Clearly the execution was off and the joke didn’t come through.”
Will the replacement ads come from Crispin Porter + Bogusky or a different agency? Will the CP+B accept responsibility for the ads as well?
Requests Crispin Porter + Bogusky for comment were not immediately returned.
“We certainly aren’t trying to be the kind of company that builds its brand on creating controversy,” Mason concluded in his blog post. “We think the quality of our product is a much stronger message.”
A Groupon spokesperson declined to comment beyond Mason’s post, adding only, “I would tell America to stay tuned.”