Tuesday, February 8, 2011

why Groupon's "apology" doesn't work, either

The Wall Street Journal published a piece today on Groupon’s “non-apology apology” issued yesterday by CEO Andrew Mason. In a blog post, Mason defended the commercials to the backchannel, saying they were meant to make fun of Groupon by “highlighting the often trivial nature of stuff on Groupon when juxtaposed against bigger world issues."

Great concept. Unfortunately, not the one that was executed.

Humor is the hardest thing to pull off in broadcast advertising, because unlike in social media where you’re talking to a narrowed audience, in broadcast you’re reaching out to millions whose funny bones aren’t all in the same location.

Groupon’s spots are only funny (sort of) if you know that the company’s heritage is philanthropy. But even minimal research would have suggested that most of the 111 million viewers they spent $3M to address wouldn’t have a clue about this.

Guess Mason missed that Ad 101 class where curriculum includes the infamous ad conveying the state of mind of consumers:
I don't know who you are.
I don't know your company.
I don't know your company's product.
I don't know what your company stands for.
I don't know your company's reputation.
Now--what was it you wanted to sell me?


California Girl said...

Well put. Not being a coupon clipper, my awareness of Groupon came late and I still don't know much about them except what little I hear in the media.

george tannenbaum said...

It's nice to see that McGraw-Hill ad.
I've carried it around (first as a xerox and then digitally) for the last thirty years. So many forget that people aren't waiting for our message.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Suspect you're seeing a lot more about Groupon in press these days, California Girl. Which some say was part of the plan. Groupon saw surge in subscribers after SB spots aired. Question is, how many more signups might they have gotten if spots hadn't ticked off so many viewers?

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Geo-Nice to connect with another veteran here. Thanks for sharing. Surprising how relevant a trade ad done in the Mad Men era remains today, isn't it? Technology evolves, but psychology of persuasion remains reassuringly stet.

White Mountains TV16 said...

As a response to your first comment: we had that discussion today as to whether or not this boosted their subscribers which, we suspicion, it did. The argument from one colleague was, "Hey, this is the save a buck crowd and they don't care who's being insulted if they even notice." Condescending, I know but...maybe?

Respnse to your second comment: I still love the original DDB ad for VW "Think Small". It's probably more relevant than ever in this economy.

Unknown said...

Interesting post! Groupon will either grow like crazy or drop down a few slots when the big dogs start to play. Groupon’s current $25 billion pricetag is flawed for a number of reasons according to Groupon Priced at $25 Billion!!