Super Bowl ad faux pas call for PR follow-up

Save for Darth Vadar and Justin Bieber, the 2011 Super Bowl commercials did not live up to the laughs of years' past.

Save for Darth Vadar and Justin Bieber, the 2011 Super Bowl commercials did not live up to the laughs of years' past. Instead, many brands woke up Monday morning, not to a hangover, but to the buzz of negative press.

The feeling this year was that most of the ads during the Super Bowl didn't make the cut. Unfortunate for an event that, according to Nielsen, had an average audience of 111 million views, breaking last year's Super Bowl record and marking it as the most watched television program of all time.

Reaction to the Groupon ad, one of the biggest to fall short, prompted CEO Andrew Mason to take to his blog Monday, saying the company is in fact donating money to the causes it half-hazardly featured in the commercials. According to the comments posted below the apology attempt, many people remained displeased.

Groupon has since re-edited its commercials, ending with “Support the cause at savethemoney.org.” Although, the newly launched site's discussion board shows people are still sour, with many threatening to close their accounts.

It's important for Groupon to step up its reactive game even more, if it wants to attract investors in its plans to go public. Google's plans to launch a competing site soon also add to the pressure on Groupon to turn public opinion around.

Meanwhile, HomeAway received criticism for its “smushed test baby” spot. In reaction, the travel site issued a news release with an apology and admitted that they had offended people, unlike Groupon's blog which plugged its social activism sites. HomeAway also pulled the entire questionable scene from its ad.

Clearly, HomeAway went in crisis mode, delivering a clear message that owed up to its mistake and made the spot much more palatable.

For a few brands, there was a bright side. Chrysler is reportedly in talks with Eminem to do more commercials. The two-minute spot, the longest in Super Bowl history, spawned more TV and radio coverage that reached approximately 200 million people.

In addition, Chrysler's ad was the most commented on, liked, and tweeted in the social media space—a blatant clue as to where the auto company should take its winning campaign next.

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