February 8th, 2011

thinky tim

Groupon, ugh

For those who do not watch the Super Bowl, or have not otherwise heard, the deal website Groupon ran a swimming-in-privilege commercial exploiting Tibet. Angry Asian Man includes the form letter they're sending out as a fauxpology to anyone who complains.

I sent my own email to complain and ask for my account to be deleted, and here is the version they sent me:

Thanks for your email.

We certainly don't mean to offend with our advertisements.

I see you've been able to read our CEO's response (http://www.groupon.com/blog/), and I'm sorry you still feel offended. We have moved to action by raising awareness to worthy causes.

We are very informed on each of these issues, and have received some amazing responses from Tibetan Americans, Greenpeace, and others who appreciated us shedding light in places that remain dark to the average consumer.

Wow, what a persuasive response! You're well-informed, really! You have friends who are ______, and they say it's okay! And you're still not sorry. Would you like a Dickwolves shirt with that order of willful ignorance, sir?

I'm going to give it one more shot and explain why none of those things makes up for the lack of apology and action, for what it's worth. I'm sure a lone voice won't change their minds, but hopefully right now they're receiving a loud and un-ignorable chorus that I can add to.

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thinky tim

What. What.

Excerpt from the response I received to my second email (see previous entry):

While I am just a Customer Service Representative of this company, I feel like I should share my point of view.

I totally understand where you're coming from as a consumer, and realize the gray area that has been created.

Ultimately, as an employee of the company that created this campaign, I feel honored that we broke the status quo in a sea of other companies that advertise in similar ways. Did it make some uncomfortable? Yes. Did it make some think? Yes. Did it make people act? Yes. Personally, I've been forced to take a look at what I consider the "tipping point" of what action is. How many people does it take to change the status quo? How many have to support a cause before action is taken? I may never know these answers, but I feel like I work at a company that has it's hand on the pulse of questions like this.

Is there any way this doesn't boil down to, "I'm glad we made people think, because clearly no one was thinking about these issues before, and clearly being obnoxious was the best way to do it"?

God, this is like the white people who ignore the grief, stress, anger, and depression caused by RaceFail (whatever iteration) and just gush, "I'm so grateful I could learn from this!"

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