If I am honest, he probably didn’t, but  the folks at Crispin Porter & Bogusky that created the Tibet Groupon advert should’ve remembered that.

The advert in question, is now one of the most talked about adverts from the 2011 Super Bowl – probably for the wrong reasons. It’s a great advert, just that they mistakenly assumed that people would make the connection. That was their only and fatal flaw. I can probably imagine the creative conversations that went around during the conception of these adverts, all highly charged and excited.

The result, in my opinion acts as a good lesson to always ‘never assume’ that your audience will immediately understand what it is that you are trying to say, or what the expected outcome should be.

The Tibet advert from Groupon was there to promote Groupon, obviously and promote the fact that Groupon donate a large amount to charitable causes. It’s just that they assumed people would know that.

“We thought people would go to Groupon.com and put two and two together,” said Julie Mossler, a Groupon spokesperson.

A simple closing line, or a link to the savethemoney.groupon.com website would have done the trick, but it wasn’t there – people took the advert at face value, which seemed to be poking fun at the Tibetan cause. At a business level, the advert seems to have worked – Groupon received over 50,000 new customers (but also lost a few in the process!). However, with a bit more care I believe that it would have been much more effective.

So, as a rule of thumb, “never assume” that people will do what you expect, or think what you want them to think. Cover off all your bases in a campaign; TV, Radio or across different mediums. Failing to do so, can result in complete failure of the campaign. Never lose sight, during the creative process of what the campaign is there to achieve and make sure that it’s clear to the audience what you want them to do.

“Never Assume…”