The humor behind the ads is being supported by a Groupon microsite that is raising money for groups that are really helping the specific causes (Greenpeace, The Tibet Fund, RAN - The Rainforest Action Network).
Mashable - Groupon Responds to Super Bowl Ad Controversey
"Groupon classifies the campaign as “making fun of themselves” and says that offending customers was “the last thing [it] wanted.”
Regardless of intentions, customers are offended. The disconnect, it seems is that it is unclear from the advertising spots that Groupon is actually giving money to the causes it mocks. Most people can handle a good-natured parody of a Sally Struthers “Save the Children” ad, provided that at the end of the spot the viewer knows that the underlying cause is actually benefitting."
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