Tony: We’re Living in the Golden Age of Groupon, Internet Discounts And Cynicism

With no cheerleaders, no real marquee players and just a close and competitive game among palookas, the most recent Super Bowl didn’t leave much of a memory.

In fact, the lost tape of The Kansas City Chiefs in their long gone Super Bowl glory was probably more noteworthy.

Additionally, the Super Bowl is really just an excuse to sell stuff and I’m probably not the only one who was uninspired by Eminem posing for Detroit and Chrysler propaganda.

However, a bit of Dark Humor and politically correct controversy was my highlight to a close game that was strangely uninspiring.

Groupon‘s Tibet Spoof ad targeted the celebrity-spokesperson-tragedy-of-the-month mindset, but also poked fun at the culture of consumerism that all prime-time TV events love to promote. It’s rare that something even a little bit subversive finds its way onto TV and this was close enough for alternative thought for me.

Allow me to explain:

First of all, nobody REALLY cares about the struggles of Tibet and if they did there wouldn’t be huge lines at Wal-Mart to line up for cheap Chinese merchandise.

Secondly, the ad isn’t just making fun of Groupon, it’s taking aim at users of the service who are so self-absorbed that the world crumbling around them isn’t as important as some silly savings.

On this subject, the "opt-in" aspect of Groupon and similar services is nice and probably represents a decent value for places who need additional foot traffic. But it’s not like they’re splitting the atom with this one.

Groupon and other discount group buying services simply have a new twist on old-school, direct mail or coupon schemes.

Sure, it’s an essential part of business for some folks but it’s grunt work and not maybe not even as effective as the somewhat offensive branding taking place in the very same commercial that promostes the service.

Still, some people swear by coupons and those are the same kind of people who rave over this service. For my money, Timothy Hutton‘s quick transition to between "citizen of the world" and pitchman was the best part of the ad. Take a look:

As for the future of this Internet-y discount service changing the face of the world in Kansas City, don’t count on it. While I’m glad Groupon isn’t really backing down from the ad. This is simply another gambit to get Internet savvy folks accustomed to participating in the grand old money-making process that powers their outdated computer network. That or maybe help them forget that singers of the past, present and future don’t know the words to the national anthem or need at least two chances to get it right.

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2 Responses to Tony: We’re Living in the Golden Age of Groupon, Internet Discounts And Cynicism

  1. tracy thomas says:

    The video link did not work, can someone fix that please
    And, Tony, there are many of us, even here in KC, who work every week to support the Tibetan people. I happen to sponsor a woman refugee, thru the Jamptse Tsokpa Foundation. And attended the Rumi urs in December at Rime Tibetan Center.

    An unorganized silent boycott of Chinese products would not accomplish the goal you claim it would. We have far greater problems, eg America’s currency is financed by the Chinese. THAT is why this is such a challenge.

    Finally, Groupon is a VERY different, very hip coupon concept, driven by using what is called “chaos” writing, something that stimulates the prefrontal cortex thru the use of paradox.

  2. bschloz says:

    Run With It

    That prefrontal cortex writing is expensive, no? CHAOS WRITING huh…jojo lets build an ATM machine?

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