Online discount firm Groupon debuted the public service announcement-style spots during the U.S. broadcast of the Super Bowl last weekend (06Feb11), when viewers saw Hutton make light of the plight of people in Tibet, Gooding, Jr. spoofing an appeal for help with endangered whales, and Bedazzled star Hurley comparing the loss of rainforests to a Brazilian bikini wax.
In Hutton's commercial, he said: "The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us brought a Groupon.com, we got $30 of Tibetan food for $15 at Himalayan Restaurant in Chicago."
Groupon executives were criticised for greenlighting the ads, which were branded insensitive, and they decided to pull the campaign on Friday (11Feb11) in a bid to put a stop to the complaints.
Company founder Andrew Mason apologised for causing offence in a blog post to customers, writing: "We hate that we offended people and we're very sorry that we did. We don't see the point in continuing to anger people."