And the Most Offensive Super Bowl Ad Goes To: Groupon?

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Subject areas future Super Bowl advertisers might want to avoid: Tibet.

Groupon made a stir among football fans Sunday night, not only by splurging on a Super Bowl spot that put the freshman web coupon provider alongside such senior brands as Chevy and Bud Light — marvel at the best (and mock the worst) 2011 Super Bowl ads here — but also by skewing scandalous with an ad that hinted at the political oppression of the Tibetan people, only to then turn around and use it as a punch line.

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(Super Bowl Scandal: Hundreds of Super Bowl ticketholders turned away in tears)

Also in the Groupon series of ads: A deforestation spot that cast aside the razing of the rainforest in favor of low-low deals on Brazilian waxes in New York City:

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And then there’s the Cuba Gooding Jr. ad, in which the plight of Earth’s eroding whale populations is but a tease for a deal promoting ocean sightseeing coupons — purchased, of course, on

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Were the ads irreverent? Or irresponsible?

Did they merely push the envelope, or did they cross a line? It’s the debate that’s heating up today across the web.

But speaking purely in terms of marketing: Is the fact that we’re still talking about them at all proof that they got the job done?

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