Breakfast in bed freaks me out. Sure, you would make it for me and that is fine. But who is going to be left cleaning up the crumbs out of bed? And the crumbs - unless you wash those sheets immediately - will be found for days following. Who thinks it’s comfortable to eat sitting in that position?
So yeah, thanks much for the thought, but here’s just a note to save you some trouble in the future. (He hasn’t done it - I’m pre-empting).
It does not look like there will be an apology from the Groupon camp and here are my final thoughts before I give them anymore publicity.
Before I begin, here is a disclaimer:
I have a sense of humor. Anchorman is one of my favorite movies. See, prima facie evidence of a sense of humor. Take that. I am aware that Groupon has a charitable website it is directing people to where they can donate to the causes spoofed in their ads. I believe that they did not have evil intentions. I am aware the company started as a charity fundraising website.
With that said, here is why I was so pissed at the Tibet ad…
The Chinese occupation of Tibet is one of the terrible tragedies of the 20th century. Yes, there were many terrible tragedies in the 20th century. The Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the Balkan conflicts, Soviet purges, Apartheid, Rwanda, etc… but unlike those other terrible chapters in human history, the occupation of Tibet continues. There has never been any justice for its victims. There has been no resolution. The memory of dead monks cries out for justice. Destroyed cultural treasures have not been rebuilt. An unjust economic system favoring Han transplants at the expense of Tibetan locals has not been reformed.
Worse than that, the Tibetans’ struggle has become a punchline in American pop culture. In the 1990s, musicians and celebrities took up the Tibetan cause with a passion. When we thought of Richard Gere and the Beastie Boys, we also thought of Tibet. Often, when these things become the featured cause in Hollywood, some good actually comes from the awareness and money generated.
Unfortunately, these causes may have never come up against the central government of the People’s Republic of China.
The communists in the PRC did not capitulate and grant civil liberties and equal rights to the Tibetans. It just got worse.
And Americans have a short attention span. So, while the hippies clung to the cause, everyone else moved on. “Free Tibet” became a joke. The rally cry of potheads and slackers. And the people of Tibet continued to suffer.
So here comes Groupon with their PSA parody, seemingly poking fun at the Tibet cause and knowing that the common American will laugh at the hippies’ cause and maybe remember to check out that Groupon after the game. To air that commercial during one of the most watched events of the year seemed to me to be the final laugh at the Tibetan cause. If nobody challenged it and everyone bought $30 for $15 coupons, that would be the end of any chance for change in Tibet.
That is why I am angry. Because to not be angry seems like giving in to the possible inevitability of an end to any chance for freedom and justice in Tibet. China is so big and we are so intertwined with them in trade that we may never directly challenge them on the Tibetan issue. The central government is strong and not showing any sign of going anywhere. They currently imprison one Nobel Peace Prize winner and condemn another, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as a terrorist with a “separatist clique”. The Chinese peoples’ xenophobia and nationalism seem from way over here to be unbreakable.
So, when Groupon pokes fun, it is not humorous. It continues the tragedy. If Groupon apologizes for at least having poor taste or flawed marketing schemes, I will forgive. If they make a concrete effort to improve the lives of Tibetan refugees with their own millions of dollars, I will celebrate.
Until then, I am buying on LivingSocial. It’s cooler anyway.
I am a customer that has purchased Groupons on occasion for more than a year, first in Baltimore and now in . Since moving to , I have recommended Groupon to multiple people in my office that had never heard of it before and I know they have since joined and purchased groupons.
Considering my past loyalty, I was especially disappointed with your Super Bowl commercial that used the plight of the Tibetan people as a marketing platform for Groupon. While I have no doubt that it was an effective ad considering the immense publicity it has created, it was, at best, in poor taste. At worst, it was abusive to a people group that has suffered for over 60 years from a systematic campaign of genocide and cultural destruction.
I will not be buying any Groupons for the foreseeable future to express my distaste for your marketing choice. There is one available in today for a coffeehouse I enjoy that I would have otherwise purchased. However, today, the very sight of the Groupon name conjures up negative feelings in me and I cannot in good conscience purchase from you.
I am aware of the site that you have set up where you can purchase a donation to a Tibetan charity which I’m sure was your safety plan to ward off the backlash you had to expect. However, considering what your company will gain from the commercial at the expense of a suffering people, I do not consider this an adequate gesture and I implore you to do something better for the Tibetans and repair the damage to your brand.
“That we often don’t know as much about the people in these countries as we do about their Tweets is a testament to the cutbacks in foreign coverage at many news organizations — and perhaps also to our own desire to escape a war zone that has for so long sapped American energy, resources and patience.”—Frank Rich’s “Wallflowers at the Revolution” op-ed in the New York Times. Good, good read. (via sharedair)