Groupon Two-Faced About Trump

Pitches casino deal even as it withdraws ads from Apprentice site

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Groupon vowed to stop advertising on The Apprentice in an effort to distance itself from the show's controversial host—so why is it running a deal for a one-night stay at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City?

On Thursday, after receiving numerous complaints from customers who saw a Groupon ad on the website of The Apprentice, Donald Trump’s NBC series, reports surfaced that the the daily deals site would stop sponsoring the show.

Groupon responded with a blog post saying that it had never been a sponsor—those ads were put on The Apprentice's site by an advertising network that Groupon uses. Groupon had never promised to pull “a fake sponsorship that didn’t exist,” the post sarcastically explained.

In order to avoid any further controversy, however, Groupon said it would make sure that no more ads appear on the show’s page. “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,” the blog explained.

But just a day after Groupon’s statement, it's running a deal on its Philadelphia and North Jersey sites offering a discounted rate at Trump’s casino in Atlantic City. Although Groupon only said that it wouldn’t put its own advertisements on The Apprentice, this obviously promotes a Trump product, and, more importantly, puts money directly in his company’s pockets. 

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
Publish date: April 29, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT