Daily discount service Groupon spent millions of dollars on a couple controversial Super Bowl spots--before almost immediately apologizing for the commercials  and pulling them from the airwaves .
But if CEO Andrew Mason's candid response--"We hate that we offended people, and we're sorry that we did it"--wasn't evidence enough that these ads were poorly executed, a new report  from Nielsen leaves nothing to the imagination.
Nielsen measured whether the large viewership of the Super Bowl spots helped increase traffic to advertisers' websites. Those notoriously scandalous ads from GoDaddy.com? Rocketed post-Super Bowl traffic 41% in terms of unique visits, the biggest lift for any sponsor. Volkswagen? The spots boosted traffic 27%. HomeAway.com? By 27% too. Even Mercedes-Benz managed to jack the strat  by 9%--and the company isn't an exclusive or traditional web service.
So how did Groupon.com fare? During the week following the Super Bowl compared to the week prior, Groupon increased traffic by a paltry 3%--a negligible boost given how expensive a Super Bowl spot is and the hundred million-plus consumers who viewed it live.
Compare that to competitor LivingSocial, which managed to surge traffic 80%  with just one popular discount on Amazon.com.
Groupon did win one category however: Super Bowl advertiser buzz. Groupon’s ads, a spoof on celebrity charity endorsements, caused plenty of conversation, placing the rookie Super Bowl telecast advertiser as the No. 5 most buzzed about brand out of all Super Bowl advertisers," said Nielsen. "Among the pure-online players, Groupon took the top spot, capturing 10.5% of total Super Bowl marketing buzz the day after the game, three times the buzz of GoDaddy, which had the largest increase in web traffic."