Groupon’s #FirstWorldProblems

I don’t know if Groupon created after testing their Super Bowl spots. But I do know the site was live before their spots ran. The bigger mystery is why didn’t Groupon direct viewers to go there in the first place? They refer to save the money but only as a tagline, no url. The web address at the end of the spot only says to go to, which takes visitors to their local Groupon page and current deal.

Groupon self-inflicted some bloody wounds on their image (as well as on a few celebrities), and now they no longer control their message. See the comments on Groupon’s community board.

If a brand plans to do integrated marketing, it needs to be exactly that. They can’t expect people to figure it out when the complete message is placed in different media with no simple way to take it all in. The exception is when you’re consciously creating a scavenger hunt, which is fine for a video game or a movie. But not when your business is built on bringing together people looking for bargains and people owning small businesses.


About Robert Moss

I write ads: traditional, non-traditional, interactive, edutainment, story-based, broadcast, and experiential marketing events. Sometimes I write about ads and the business of advertising. Sometimes I write about other stuff. The views expressed here are solely my own and don't reflect the views of my employers. I also published a novel called Descending Memphis that's getting great reviews on Amazon. see
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3 Responses to Groupon’s #FirstWorldProblems

  1. Andy Askren says:

    The groupon mystery just continues to unfold, doesn’t it?

    Seems to quickly becoming a textbook example of do’s and don’ts for Super Bowl ads; not that that book would ever be finished, really. Every year someone writes a new chapter. “Chapter XLV: groupon.”

    From here, it would seem they missed one of the first chapters called, “Know Thy Audience.” For a brand with so much juice in the online/digital/social world, they forgot that maybe the rest of the larger world had either no knowledge of them, or certainly no “feel” for them. And without any context of groupon’s particular brand of (maybe) mis-guided (maybe) self-deprecating humor, leading with that (maybe) tongue-in-cheek slant is opening you up to backlash of mega proportions.

    Man oh man, what a cluster.

    • Robert Moss says:

      Hi Andy,
      Thank you for commenting. Groupon was the last thing I wanted to write about the day after the Super Bowl. But then I realized some big names in the advertising and corporate social responsibility industries were oblivious to Groupon’s donation site and the overall campaign.
      If they were missing that fact, it’s clear that most people didn’t get Groupon’s story. When a brand debuts at the Super Bowl, they only get one cotillion; Groupon wishes they never went to the dance.
      – R

  2. Deja vu — 1999 .com boom. It was about creating awareness for the vunder dots without a well-thought through marketing strategy and, as you say, an integrated program. Crispin Porter & Bogusky knows better but maybe the client doesn’t and hey, maybe Crispin doesn’t really get it.

    Its possible that Crispin’s day in the bright sun is in fact over. I don’t think these commercials are going on the agency reel.

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