Online daily deals site Groupon announced today via blog post that they will be taking steps to ensure that no ads for their service appear on the website for "The Apprentice."
Apparently the rumor got around that Groupon was a sponsor of the hit NBC show "The Apprentice." It turns out popular online petition site Change.org hosted a petition entitled "Don't Support Donald Trump and Boycott the Sponsors of NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice!" In the description of the petition, Groupon is named as a sponsor and monetary beneficiary of the show, which of course stars Donald Trump. The petition also names Walt Disney, Enterprise Car Rentals and Sprint-Nextel as targets of the boycott. From the petition letter:
Since Mr. Trump is obviously supporting fringe elements of the American electorate and advocating for racism, xenophobia, and divisiveness in this country, the supporters of this petition feel strongly that the aforementioned companies should not advertise on Mr. Trump's TV program.
The above sentiment refers to recent press surrounding the celebrity. Donald Trump is said to be flirting with the possibility of running for President on the Republican ticket. His biggest controversy has been his support of the "Birther" movement. That said movement took a huge hit Wednesday when President Barack Obama released his official long from birth certificate. Some birthers are not swayed by this, however, as they have attempted to undermine the legitimacy of the certificate.
Groupon explains that they were never a sponsor of "The Apprentice," their online ads simply appeared on the page because of their advertising agreement with NBC:
Here’s the thing: Groupon has never been a sponsor of The Apprentice on TV or on the web. We invest heavily in online advertising through networks that place ads on a rolling basis, meaning that we know one will appear on NBC.com but not specifically which page. We know that some advertising appeared on the Apprentice home page a few weeks ago.
But the company still sees it fit to remove advertising from the show hosted by the controversial Trump:
Enough consumers have contacted us to warrant ensuring that we don’t place ads on the Apprentice homepage in the future. It’s the same reason we don’t run deals on guns or abortion…this isn’t a political statement, it’s avoiding intentionally upsetting a segment of our customers.
This isn't Groupon's first ad controversy. Earlier in the year, an ad campaign launched during the Super Bowl took fire, as many were offended by the nature of the ads. The main ad that people took offense to was an ad starring actor Timothy Hutton which in part stated, "The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry!" He then went into the Groupon pitch. Groupon later apologized and pulled the series of ads.