Is being offensive online the latest in shock marketing?

Lately, there have been a string of offensive ads forcing corporations to retract and apologize—among them an ad for Ford India featuring tied-up women, a Hyundai ad joking about suicide, and a Mountain Dew spot in which a beat-up white woman picks out her perpetrator from a lineup of black men and a goat. (I can’t believe I just had to type that sentence.) A column published yesterday on AdAge.Com suggests that, despite denials, the corporations involved knew full well in advance these spots were running and were willing to risk the bad publicity for the sake of exposure.