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Timothy Hutton and Liz Hurley under fire over ‘tasteless’ Groupon ads making light of Tibet and rainforest deforestation<br /> By Daily Mail Reporter <br /> Updated: 18:24 GMT, 7 February 2011 <br>
<br> View <br /> comments<br> <br>Online discount site Groupon was the subject of savage criticism this morning after a series of new advertisements made a high-profile debut last night during the Super Bowl and Glee.<br><br>Commercials starring Liz Hurley, Timothy Hutton and Cuba Gooding Jr make light of political turmoil in Tibet, deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest and saving whales in order to demonstrate how the site could save viewers money.<br><br>Today Twitter users branded the company as ‘tasteless’, with thousands threatening to abandon the brand.<br><br>Scroll down for videos<br> Tasteless: Liz Hurley appeared in a television commercial for Groupon last night that compared deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest to bikini waxing<br> <br>Hutton’s, which was viewed by an estimated 100million people and cost in the region of £3million per 30-second Slot 4D, used the political situation in Tibet to demonstrate how users could save money on a Tibetan meal.
<br /> <br><br>’The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture in jeopardy,’ says the actor, 50. <br /> <br> <br>’But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought on Groupon.com we’re getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15 at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.'<br><br><br> RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next ‘I got lost in the moment’: Christina Aguilera apologises after fluffing the lines to the National Anthem at…
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<br>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.<br><br>In a plunging black dress, the actress, 44, compares deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest to a Brazilian bikini wax.<br> Under fire: Timothy Hutton’s Groupon ad, which aired during the Super Bowl, used political turmoil in Tibet to show how viewers could save money on a meal out<br> <br>’The rainforest is irreplaceable, yet rampant deforestation is threatening this natural treasure,’ she says.<br><br>’But not all deforestation is bad.
And since 100 of us bought on Groupon.com, we’re all saving 50 per cent on a Brazilian wax at Completely Bare in New York City.'<br><br>In a similar format, Cuba Gooding Jr, 43, tells how the numbers of whales are dwindling, but it’s more fun to go on a discounted whale watching cruise, implying that there are better things to do than worry about such serious issues.<br><br>The ads sparked savage criticism from users of social networking sites.<br><br>One of the most popular entries on Twitter was from Devbost, who wrote: ‘Dear @Groupon – over a million Tibetans have been killed during Chinese occupation. Your ad wasn’t funny.'<br> Savage criticism: Cuba Gooding Jr implies that there are better things to do than worry about how the numbers of whales are dwindling<br> <br>Bodhipaksa tweeted: ‘Hey, #Groupon. I just saw your Superbowl ad online.
What a despicable way to trivialise the suffering of and oppression of an entire people.'<br><br>Twitter user Jordan Gold added: ‘Who approved Groupon’s Super Bowl ads? They are tasteless and classless and harm their brand.’ <br><br>Today the company issued a statement, defending their marketing strategy.<br> <br>Groupon founder Andrew Mason said: ‘The gist of the concept is this: When groups of people act together to do something, it’s usually to help a cause.
With Groupon, people act together to help themselves by getting great deals. <br /> <br> <br>’So what if we did a parody of a celebrity-narrated, PSA-style commercial that you think is about some noble cause (such as “Save the Whales”), but then it’s revealed to actually be a passionate call to action to help yourself (as in “Save the Money”)?’ <br /><br><br>The outcry comes just days after shoe designer Kenneth Cole came under attack for tweeting news of his new spring collection using the hashtag Cairo.<br><br>He was forced to issue an apology shortly afterwards, also via the social networking site.<br><br>’Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment – KC.'<br><br>Groupon is attempting to appease angry viewers by pledging to match donations made through the site up to $100,000.<br><br>It is offering a bonus for users that give $15 to The Tibet Fund, Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network by gifting each donor with $15 of Groupon credit.
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