Monday, February 14, 2011

Groupon Advertising Was Off Strategy First – Offensive Second

Companies, sometimes, overthink their messaging.  Groupon is a rather new on-line coupon service that is growing by leaps and bounds.  While they grow and have money to spend, what they need to do is to convince every mainstream mom in America to use their service.  While downloading coupons is not really new, Groupon needs to build massive brand recognition among a broad audience.  And what better place than a Super Bowl ad with over 100million viewers.

Groupon Super Bowl Ad
Crispin Porter & Bogusky created this ad, which was a bit irreverent in that it linked its money saving benefit to the plight of the Tibetan people who are being oppressed by the Chinese government.  What?? Well, actually it was intended to help build awareness to the plight of the Tibetan population. They might have been helped had they used their URL link to which was to bring donations to the Tibetan Fund.  But the advertising backfired, consumers did not get the humor, or the connection.  While Groupon’s sales did not decline (nor really grow either), the company’s CEO,  Andrew Mason, made the decision to pull the ads from further airing to minimize the negative exposure.  

Look, the reason to pull that advertising is simply because it was off strategy.  A simple lesson here is to stay true to the job at hand.  Groupon’s job is to become a household name, and it squandered its single largest exposure event trying to be outrageous and clearly overthinking what should have been a simple message and a huge opportunity. 

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