Groupon humour. Save us please.

So everyday discounters Groupon chose the most expensive ad day of the year to draw attention to themselves, and somehow came out the other side looking cheaper than their specials.

Is that funny? Does it even make sense? Could they be more glib?

Here’s their justification.

Sorry but this wasn’t clever advertising. Or smart, edgy or provocative advertising. To me, this was just outright dumb ego-drumming dressed up to be “dangerous”. I’d have fired agency Crispin Porter Bogusky just for presenting that work … (Shame. They were a great agency once.)

So why did Groupon do it? Fame, laughs, traffic …?

Attention is a very dangerous metric when it becomes an end in itself. In the bid to cut through the clutter of the most intense ad-space, the temptation is to throw out all the rules just to get the looks. But if you raise awareness and compromise or confuse the integrity of your brand, was that moment’s notice really worth it?

And if you just did it to get people talking about you, does that change the fact that you were prepared to trivialise the plight of a culture just to get attention? Was this just another Kenneth Cole?

From a reputation point of view, what does this spot say about Groupon’s sincerity as a brand? About as much as the CEO’s apology I would have thought.

If I was a Groupon investor, I would really, really have my doubts – not just about the way my money was being used, but about the judgment of those charged with using that money responsibly. Perhaps the next time Groupon came looking for backing I would do exactly what they suggest – save the money.

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