So the twitterverse was ablaze tonight talking about the Groupon ads at the superbowl. Synopsis – Groupon did a series of three ads (embedded below) parodying philanthropic documentaries and instead exhorting people to buy Groupon coupons.And everyone is all pent up at the offence caused to Tibetans, Whales and Rainforest trees (in that order).

Ao far it’s all clear. But like most of these things it isn’t quite so simple.

Groupon is also (via a complementary site) inviting people to donate to the three causes parodied in the videos and is matching the donations dollar for dollar. Bear in mind that Groupon was born out of an associated collective action and philanthropy site – so this campaign is actually in keeping with their history.

So.. Instead of getting all pent up at how offensive Groupon has been, maybe we should focus on how many consumers actually take up the offer and donate. You see the problem as I see it isn’t the existence of Groupon and it’s marketing campaign, rather it’s a sad testimony to the consumer society we live in.

A further sad testimony is that tomorrow morning this will be forgotten as we jump on he latest bandwagon, be it the iPhone5, the iPad2 or Paris Hilton’s latest alcoholic slip.


But maybe I’m wrong, as Krishnan pointed out that when Oprah announced a Groupon deal with Kiva, things when crazy for them. Let’s see whether my lack of faith in humanity can be disproved…

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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