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Posts Tagged ‘Groupon’

Yes, Groupon Trolled Everyone with Its ‘Alexander Hamilton’ President’s Day Campaign

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To the many, many media outlets that covered Groupon‘s Friday press release announcing its decision to run a President’s Day campaign honoring “former President” Alexander Hamilton and “wondered” whether it was all a joke:

  • Are you perhaps not familiar with this company and its signature promotional style?
  • Was your question even more disingenuous than the press release that inspired it?

The deal, created to “honor” the non-president by giving customers a Hamilton ($10) off each order of $40 or more at local businesses, should have been good enough on its own—but of course Groupon had to get as much attention as possible…

We’re still a little surprised that anyone questioned whether this was a serious campaign, given the overly earnest (red flag) language in the press release.

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Groupon Goes Medieval on Amazon’s Drones

Proving Groupon still has some of the old magic, check out their response to Amazon’s buzzy announcement on the use of drones for rapid shipping.

“Groupon is about great deals, great service, and Medieval catapults,” said un-chyroned dude spokesperson. They may not win the game of thrones, but they play well.

(h/t Gennady Kolker’s Twitter feed. Kolker is senior press officer at The Guardian in New York)

Case Dismissed: Paula Deen Will Live to Fry Another Day

Today in Sue Me, It’s Monday news, we have no doubt that Donald Trump will continue arguing that his for-profit university is a legitimate business and that the suit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman against Trump University is some sort of political witch hunt. But the year’s second least surprising lawsuit has been resolved with only one reputation ruined.

The racial discrimination/sexual harassment case filed against one Paula Deen by a former employee is no more after all involved reached an agreement “without any award of costs or fees to any party.”

Sounds like a win for Paula, right? Not really.

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Veteran Food Publicist Says Restaurants Need Better PR Strategies

In the wake of the Groupon collapse, lots of people in the restaurant industry are wondering what’s next. According to PR/food veteran Ellen Malloy, the answer is simple: Instead of focusing on “deals”, restaurants need to take charge of their brands and promotional efforts.

Malloy founded a food-focused PR firm called Restaurant Intelligence Agency in 2007 to help chefs and eateries address the same problems supposedly solved by Groupon–the challenges of connecting to “audiences that matter” and standing out in an extremely crowded field. In an interview with Grub Street Chicago, she explains what that means:

Wowing people who are sitting in your restaurant isn’t marketing strategy, that’s you doing your job. Marketing is what happens once they walk out the door. How are you going to get them back?

The appeal behind Groupon was that restaurants could publicize themselves without paying standard agency fees–the service only collected on sales. But that was also its biggest problem–businesses ran to Groupon because they had no real plan for promoting themselves, and most people who used these “coupons” never became regular customers anyway because they were only interested in getting a “deal”, so revenues remained static.

So what do chefs, restaurant managers and food PR firms need to do?

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Fired Groupon CEO’s Farewell Message: PR Win?

Groupon's Andrew MasonIn case you haven’t heard, long-struggling daily deals leader Groupon finally dumped its controversial CEO Andrew Mason yesterday. But we have to say that his “resignation letter” was the most amusing pseudo-press release we read this week–and the Internet seemed to agree! His letter, in full:

(This is for Groupon employees, but I’m posting it publicly since it will leak anyway)

People of Groupon,

After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.

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OpenTable Acquires Foodspotting, Encourages Users to Keep Playing With Their Dinner

Last week we told you that some fancy-pants New York City restaurants have begun pushing back against the “Instagramming your meal” trend by discouraging amateur photographers from breaking out their iPhones during dinner. Yet some within the food business have other ideas: Leading restaurant reservations app/site OpenTable just bet $10 million on user-generated content by acquiring Foodspotting, a startup designed to help users “find and [share] great dishes at restaurants.”

In case you haven’t seen Foodspotting, it’s a fairly inventive little app that allows users to search for, say, New York City’s best cheesecake (which isn’t at Junior’s, no matter how many people tell you otherwise) and displays other users’ shared photos of said cake. It’s a purely visual food community that’s about to get even bigger–and this means that the “playing with our food” debate won’t be over anytime soon, no matter what David Chang thinks.

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Marketers: Stop Trying to Make ‘Poke’ and ‘Snapchat’ Happen

Mean Girls Are Snapchat and Facebook‘s Poke the latest Instagram-style visual branding tools? Or are they more effective for sending private “sexts” than marketing messages?

In case you share(d) our ignorance about these two apps, they allow users to send customized visual messages that “self destruct” after ten seconds or less. Sounds perfect for getting people interested with provocative pics/vids and urging them to visit your business, right? Like an even more ADHD version of Groupon?

Maybe not. Certain brands have had some success with the apps, most prominent among them an Israeli lingerie maker that used Poke to promote a one-time sale with a short video of a model in her underwear and an NYC-based frozen yogurt chain that offered a discount to customers for sending Snapchat photos of their treats to the company’s own account. The chain’s CEO amusingly compares the campaign to Kohl’s discount cards that can only be “scratch[ed] off at the register.”

But recent reports indicate that Snapchat and, we assume, Poke are more popular among teens who want to send sexy pics to each other without getting caught. If the message disappears then so does the evidence, right? (iPhone mom may want to add this to her son’s contract, BTW.)

Can we see more insta-message campaigns on behalf of clients promoting sales or other one-time offers, or are these apps a no-no for public relations and marketing?

Mitt Romney and the Dangers of Automated Messaging

We can understand why the Romney/Ryan campaign might forget to cancel the obviously automated publication of its official victory website after Tuesday’s election. In this case, the team’s oversight inspired little more than snickering and/or sadness among observers. But it also serves as a useful example of the headaches that automated content, messages and responses can create for PR teams.

Automation can be a great tool, especially in the world of social media. But real-world circumstances change quickly, and a failure to re-align one’s messages in the moment can amount to a big PR fail. Let’s review some recent examples:

  • Progressive Insurance responded to a massive PR headache (taking a deceased client’s estate to court to contest benefits) by…sending out a series of automated responses on Twitter. There’s no better way to confirm your status as a heartless corporation than by responding to tragedy with robotic corporate messages. You can type “our heart goes out to…” all you want, but members of the public are surprisingly adept at calling out this sort of thing.

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Forbes ‘Richest’ List: No More Social Media Moguls?

This week Forbes released the 30th anniversary edition of its “Forbes 400: The Richest People in America” issue, and the list’s top ten is only surprising for being so boring. Bill Gates? Check? Warren Buffett, The Koch brothers, and the Waltons? Check, check, check.

The only change to the top ten is the addition of Michael Bloomberg, who somehow made lots of money last year while giving New Yorkers an extended “this is why you’re fat” lecture. We are not shocked.

In fact, there’s only one real “richest people” development that interests us: a big decline in the rankings for social media executives. The biggest individual drop, of course, belongs to Mark Zuckerberg, who has probably been grinding the hell out of his teeth every night for the past six months despite his public displays of confidence.

But does this development signal the beginning of the end of the “social media mogul?”

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5WPR Goes High Fashion, Scores Giutzy

Industry Updates: Top-25 firm 5WPR just signed the clothing-and-accessories retailer Giutzy as part of an ongoing effort to further expand its high fashion portfolio. For those who aren’t into women’s footwear, Giutzy is an “exclusive deals” retail site run on the same online coupon model as Ideeli and the flailing Groupon.

Of course, this move makes a lot of sense following the phenomenal success of Ideeli, which continues to raise serious funds long after its first-place finish in the 2011 Inc. 500.

Gituzy currently serves accessory obsessives who make up something of a niche market, but 5W plans to build buzz around their newest client with “celebrity and spokesperson integrations” and “co-branded partnerships.” Read more

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