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Groupon Pulls Controversial Super Bowl Ads

First Posted: 02/11/11 09:09 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:30 PM ET

Groupon Tibet

Groupon announced on Thursday that it is pulling its controversial Super Bowl commercials
from the air.

In a blog post, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason apologized for the ads, which many said were offensive--especially the one that aired during the Super Bowl, which featured actor Timothy Hutton talking about the plight of the Tibetan people before unexpectedly shifting gears and boasting that he could still save money on Tibetan restaurants, thanks to Groupon.

"Our ads offended a lot of people," Mason wrote. "Tuesday I posted an explanation, but as many of you have pointed out, if an ad requires an explanation, that means it didn't work."

In the explanation, Mason defended the ads, saying they were actually meant to bring awareness and raise money for the various issues they mentioned (other spots talked about the Brazilian rainforest and whales). But that stance clearly was not enough, causing Mason to go further.

"We hate that we offended people, and we're very sorry that we did - it's the last thing we wanted," Mason wrote on Thursday. "We've listened to your feedback, and since we don't see the point in continuing to anger people, we're pulling the ads...we thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through. I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads."

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |