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Watch: Controversial Christopher Guest Directed Super Bowl Spots For Groupon

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 8, 2011 at 5:05AM

This writer certainly didn't watch the game or the unbearable hours long pre-show, and really, all we cared about were the movie spots during the Super Bowl, but of course, there were plenty of non-film related ads that aired as well and among those still creating chatter after the game was a series of three commercials for group-buying site Groupon.
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This writer certainly didn't watch the game or the unbearable hours long pre-show, and really, all we cared about were the movie spots during the Super Bowl, but of course, there were plenty of non-film related ads that aired as well and among those still creating chatter after the game was a series of three commercials for group-buying site Groupon.

Starring Timothy Hutton, Elizabeth Hurley and Cuba Gooding Jr. (his best role in years), the each spot began as a typical PSA before turning on a dime and tying in the savings you can have by participating in Groupon buying. Among the interwebs, many thought the ads were in poor taste but post-game, some interesting details have come forth that might explain the joke. Firstly, Groupon started as a crowd-sourcing philanthropy site The Point, so the joke about doing some good for humanity/the planet is very much at their own expense, and secondly, the spots were helmed by none other than mockumentary legend Christopher Guest. So are the ads funnier now that you know this? For this writer, he found it kind of amusing the first time around the spots didn't ruffle his feathers, but different strokes for different folks and all that jazz. You can check out an excerpt of Groupon's full explanation as well as the spots below and see what the hubbub is all about. [via Cinematical]

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. 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”)?

Since we grew out of a collective action and philanthropy site (ThePoint.com) and ended up selling coupons, we loved the idea of poking fun at ourselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause. So we bought the spots, hired mockumentary expert Christopher Guest to direct them, enlisted some celebrity faux-philanthropists, and plopped down three Groupon ads before, during, and after the biggest American football game in the world.



This article is related to: Christopher Guest


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