Groupon Fires The Ad Agency That Made Those Awful Super Bowl Ads

Andrew Mason

Photo: AP Photo

Groupon‘s SuperBowl ads stirred controversy, and not the good kind.And now CEO Andrew Mason is blaming Crispin Porter, the ad agency they hired to do the spots.

In an interview with BusinessWeek, Mason says, Groupon was too trusting with Crispin “to be edgy, informative, and entertaining, and we turned off the part of our brain where we should have made our own decisions. We learned that you can’t rely on anyone else to control and maintain your own brand.”

Crispin sources tells Ad Age it wasn’t fired by Groupon, saying it had a contract that only covered the Super Bowl ads. Maybe, but if Groupon liked the ads it would have kept Crispin in the fold.

Of course, Mason blaming Crispin is a bit rich: He saw the ads and OK’d them before they ran. So the buck stops with him. What’s more, Crispin Porter is known for ads that court controversy — presumably that’s why Groupon hired the firm.

To be fair Mason also blames himself. And more generally Groupon has been executing near flawlessly in its plans, at least in the US, and is very good at brand marketing. It’s one faux pas, and a visible one, but still just one.

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