Groupon pulls ad starring Hutton, Hurley over ‘tasteless’ reference to Tibet

February 12th, 2011 - 5:09 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 12 (ANI): Online discount site Groupon has pulled a controversial advertising campaign that made light of political turmoil in Tibet and rainforest deforestation.

The commercials, which aired during the Super Bowl and Glee last weekend, starred Timothy Hutton, 50, and Elizabeth Hurley, 45, and were viewed by an estimated 100 million people.

But thousands threatened to abandon the brand after it used political unrest in Tibet and rainforest deforestation as a hook to show how the site could save users money.

The commercials sparked savage criticism on Twitter, with users branding the company as “tasteless”.

Hutton’s, which cost in the region of 3 million pounds per 30-seconds, used the political situation in Tibet to demonstrate how users could save money on a Tibetan meal.

“The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture in jeopardy,” the Daily Mail quoted Hutton as saying in the ad.

“But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought on Groupon.com we’re getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago,” he said.

Hurley’s ad for the brand appeared in a commercial break during musical comedy Glee, which immediately followed the Super Bowl, also commanding high viewing figures.

In a plunging black dress, the actress compares deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest to a Brazilian bikini wax.

“The rainforest is irreplaceable, yet rampant deforestation is threatening this natural treasure,” she is heard saying.

“But not all deforestation is bad. And since 100 of us bought on Groupon.com, we’re all saving 50 percent on a Brazilian wax at Completely Bare in New York City,” she stated.

After the complaints Groupon’s co-founder, Andrew Mason, issued a statement on the site explaining the about-turn.

“We hate that we offended people, and we’re very sorry that we did - it’s the last thing we wanted,” he said.

He added that the ads would be replaced with “something less polarising”. (ANI)

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