Groupon's Manhattan Helicopter Deal: Too Soon After Tragedy?


Did Groupon's deal Friday for a Manhattan helicopter tour spin into bad taste? The email offer to New Yorkers comes just 10 days after a helicopter carrying tourists plunged into the city's East River, killing two. One Australia resident drowned after impact, and the other, her life partner, passed away on Oct. 11, just three days ago.

The online discount packager is known for its irreverent copy, but some might think this entire bargain should have never left the helipad. The cover email read, "Up to $165 Off Manhattan Helicopter Tours: Getting an overhead view of the city is an excellent way for people to appreciate its true scope and figure out where exactly they dropped their contact lenses."

A link in the email revealed that as of 11 a.m., 39 people had already accepted the terms, which Groupon forged with a company called Manhattan Helicopters. The accompanying copy chirps, "The Deal is On!"

Although the fatal flight was private and did not involve Manhattan Helicopters, the idea that Groupon and Manhattan Helicopters would offer an excursion discount so publicly so soon might not fly with some.

Groupon had already taken political incorrectness to a worldwide television audience during the last Super Bowl, appalling viewers with its commercial contrasting the troubles faced by the people of Tibet at the hands of occupying China with the joy of finding a good deal at a Tibetan restaurant.

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DailyFinance contacted Manhattan Helicopters and asked a marketing person identified as Anna if the company was concerned about advertising so soon after the crash. She answered no, because Groupon purchasers had up to six months to redeem the coupon. When asked if the company was concerned about perception because one of the victims of the crash had died just three days ago, the line went dead.

We also attempted to contact Groupon on deadline. We'll keep you posted if we hear back.