The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Groupon Is Coupon Spelt Badly …
January 20, 2011, 6:24 am
Filed under: Comment

So if you read the ad press, you’ll see the industry is going mental about the phenomenon that is groupon.

Seriously, some of them are treating it like it’s the second coming of Jesus [though it feels like they think it’s the second coming of the bloke with the beard every bloody week] and yet, in a sickeningly familiar pattern, adland is ultimately hundreds of years out-of-date even though they are trying their best to look like they’re on the cutting edge of everything.

The concept of groupon is not new.

In fact it’s one of the founding principals of trade – and while I appreciate technology [and the groupon company] have enabled more people to benefit from it in easier and more convenient ways, to claim it is a completely new approach just shows how out-of-touch adland [especially the digital fraternity] are.

I suppose what saddens me more is that for all the talk of being ‘media neutral’ and ‘business centric’, adland didn’t leverage this idea years ago.

Mind you, maybe they did and they had the rug pulled from underneath them by a client who views any concept requiring them to offer a financial incentive as the ultimate insult, even if you could give them sales that would dramatically raise their share [and profit].

I can say this from personal experience because way back in 1997, I developed a concept for WPP and Unilever called Sampleshop.


We’re not walking with dinosaurs, we’re working with them.

Without going into all the details, it was a program that was designed to drive shoppers to disproportionately purchase Unilever products over competitor brands and give Unilever the ability to create/change offers in real time so they could maximise efficiencies with stock and distribution.

And do you know what they said?

Yep, they said no.

NO!

Not – I should point out – because they thought it wouldn’t work … oh no … but because they thought it would work too well.

Yep, some analyst had determined/decided that the amount of short-term profit would cost them was detrimental to their market value, even though we had done [well, we had got someone to do it for us] analytics to demonstrate the benefits of offering an additional few % discount in our particular channel was enormous based on how many more people we would be driving to purchase.

I shouldn’t complain because I got paid for the idea – but it still bugs me that adland gets slammed for not developing business focused ideas when often they do and the reason they don’t happen is because the clients ego gets in the way.

Hang on, I’ve gone from slagging off agencies to blaming it all on clients …

How did that happen?

Oh I know, because I wrote this post and I can go off at angles even a protractor would be jealous of.

Anyway, groupon is a nice idea, but like social media, it’s not new so the sooner the ad industry stops trying to be at the cutting edge of things that aren’t actually at the cutting edge of anything – and gets back to what they’re brilliant at [apart from long lunches and delusion] – the sooner we might start reminding business about our real skill and value.


82 Comments so far
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classic campbell post. you make a point that only needed 2 fucking lines and bury it in 10,000 fucking lines of fluff. mafia money launderers arent as clever at disguising shit as you.

for once your point is a good one. all this fucking hoopla about bringing back old fucking concepts pisses me off. i can accept they can make a fucking packet (except twitter. and facebook. and fucking 99% of the rest of them) and people can use them more easily and for positive fucking personal reasons but having some acne twat with 2 months experience making out he or fucking she is in some way directly responsible for its creation and while at it, theyre also communication geniuses because they know how to write pointless, self congratulatory blog comments makes me want to destroy but then my wife (of woodworm mansions fame) reminds me they still believe in the fucking tooth fairy and i decide to let them get on with it because reality will hurt them a fuck load more than even I could and i make geoff capes look like a little bitch.

fair fucking play to the guys who bring old fucking ideas back to fucking life, its the fame whores who fuck me off by trying to claim association by idiotic fucking claims and corporate toadiness.

and sampleshop was flawed campbell. you know it, i know it. good idea but you got cash because any fucker who had an idea with dot fucking com in the name got cash back then got a bucket of dollar bills. happening again right now. do these fuckers ever learn? got to fucking fly, off to register blowyourbillionsallovermyface.com right fucking now.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t they say stupidity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result? So why do you expect that I’ll write a short post when I’ve been doing the same thing for 20 years? It’s only the fact you go “off on one” that I am willing to give you special dispensation and accept I probably did go on even more than normal when basically the first 3 paragraphs will have done … but you can’t procrastinate from work if you’re only writing 3 paragraphs so hopefully now you understand the method in my madness. Ahem.

Comment by Rob

The real lesson of all these digital incarnations of old business practices should be the light they shed on the validity (or otherwise) of those old business assumptions.

And they probably didn’t turn it down on a profit basis, it was the name they couldn’t face.

Comment by John

I find it astounding the founders of twitter turned down half a billion dollars because they wanted to prove their idea had a solid business plan behind it. As Rob said, selling would have proved that, keeping it demonstrates idiocy.

Comment by Pete

Or maybe they lied and got other reasons.

Comment by Evolution

Then they’d be even more ridiculous.

Comment by Pete

Their PR person would be.

Comment by Evolution

Good point John, though as Andy mentions – it is alarming how it appears the old days of “obscene money for .com” are seemingly coming back – especially when so many of the companies getting the hype have as many flawed elements as the ones that became blueprints for bad investments did.

Have you read Fucked Company? It’s great and highlights – in layman’s terms and from a layman’s perspective – the madness of so many of these decisions and yet the bubble is rising again and the number of companies who are deserving of it is probably still relatively small.

I’m all for speculate to accumulate but some of this is just plain mad, but then I’m not an IT specialist investment banker who gets paid even if things go tits up. [Where was that job when I went to my careers advisor eh?]

Comment by Rob

is it a shoes or back to jesus shit sandals day campbell?

dont answer, no one gives a fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Snowing according to the BBC Andy.

Comment by Pete

Not just snowing, but full on, settle-on-the-ground blizzard type of stuff. In shoes AGAIN – and like Lauren, our resident shoe wear expert said – canvas Converse are not waterproof and so my feet are now colder and wetter than if I’d gone back to my beloved Birkies.

I knew I should have put a ‘no snow’ clause in my contract.

Comment by Rob

What and who does the ad industry not treat like The Second Coming? What is actually not over-hyped? Nothing. Thank god for social media and the ‘conversation’, because “nothing can kill a bad product faster than good marketing”.

Good for you that you got paid for a concept, even though the idea wasn’t even realized. Does that still happen nowadays? Rhetorical question in an age of crowdsourcing exploitation.

If the client said it would not fit their strategy, that is a reasonable excuse not to make it happen. The question is if you were briefed accordingly and knew about their issues.

On the other hand, the VP’s wife probably just didn’t like the color of the font used in the presentation. The analyst’s findings were made the excuse. Sounds insane? We all know such things happen. What a wonderful world.

Comment by Evolution

Could I ask which country or city you reside in Evolution?

Comment by Pete

You could and you can, but that doesn’t mean I would answer in a way that would satisfy your curiosity.

Comment by Evolution

you think this makes you mysterious dont you evolution bit like kids think running around with a bed sheet around their head makes them look like fucking superman.

Comment by andy@cynic

Do you think this makes me mysterious, young man, bit like kids think running around with a bed sheet around their head makes them look like fucking superman? Who cares.

Comment by Evolution

my fucking point exactly.
off you go to bed, you have school in the morning and its already way past your bedtime.

Comment by andy@cynic

Listen, I say what I want where I want. Just because I, no actually your dear self, made you look not quite flattering a few days ago won’t make me shut up. It amuses me that your ego cannot take it, apparently. Why don’t you get over it and stop trying to piss me off. It didn’t work a couple of days ago, and it won’t work now. Have you done it again? Oh snap!

Comment by Evolution

Evolution, it’s always nice to have new people come by and you are welcome to make any comment you want … but I have to say I feel you are starting to act in a way that isn’t what I want on here.

We like to debate, we like to be a bit cheeky to each other but it’s all good natured and built up over a number of years so whilst I appreciate for someone just coming on it might seem caustic – it’s not – so please be less closed off and protective because that’s not what this is about.

And Andy will stop being an ass, though I hate to tell you, it has nothing to do with your goading, he’s like that to all.

Comment by Rob

I’ll admit that a lot of the time when I leave comments on this blog I do so knowing Andy will read and reply. He’s been a bit harsh to me on rare occasions in the past, but I know it’s all for my own good, and an essential part of the fun/chaos of coming here. I love it. Why so serious, Evo dude…

Comment by Age

thats why i expect 10% of your fucking salary in my bank account every fucking month age. youre 3 years in arrears.

Comment by andy@cynic

Will it get me banned when I say that I understand the difference between cheeky banter and someone just trying to piss me off? Of course, if the piss-off action happens, I see that as a challenge I like to win, even though I am a pacifist at heart. That being said, I’m always up for a little banter ;).

Comment by Evolution

That’s good, but please don’t ignore the other point I made … I prefer it when people are open about who they are and what they do – if only so it helps everyone understand context and perspective – and so while you’re obviously entitled to do/say whatever you want, we all get more out of it when we act this way. And as for trying to piss you off – I would say you did mistake banter for anger, at least initially – but that’s now all water under the bridge isn’t it.

Comment by Rob

If that is what you think. Looking back at the beginning, I think I was mistaken as someone who is a little dumb and would just react and defend myself on the ground of false accusations, running into an argument all blazing.

As for the other point which is important to you, well, I prefer to use pseudonyms online. That is important to me. If only for the fact that you are very well connected and this is a small world and an even smaller industry. I like to keep my spine intact. Our ways have to part again then. Now that I have explained myself, good luck.

Comment by Evolution

I hope you’re not saying I’d try and fuck you over in some way Evolution? I’m not that kind of person – and I’m certainly not that influential or well connected – but if that’s how you prefer it, so be it … though I would say by not representing yourself by your real name, the good stuff you say/think/do can’t be attributed to you either and that would be a shame.

See/hear from you soon.

Comment by Rob

rob, you need to go home and think about groupon/ad fauning and write this post again. i know you can do better than this.

and i think the twitter comment has been blown out of proportion. besides, as you suggest, short-term vision (like selling short to a competitor) isn’t a real business idea; that’s called gambling.

sorry for the grumbleness. I’m tired.

Comment by lauren

you think campbell should only write this post again? fuck me youre not tired, youre generous. but you dont think his point is wrong do you? yes hes written an overlong load of planning bollocks, but you dont actually think groupon is a new fucking concept. and the sell to a competitor is gambling but it fucking works and theres some fucking value to approaching business as if you were going to sell it because it encourages you to make sure everything you do is big, smart and publicised to shit even if a lot of the fuckers who do it forget the first 2 points. but who is the bigger tit, the gamblers or the guys who buy the shit when it makes no fucking money, cant make any money and doesnt add much to your existing fucking business model. murdoch anyone?

Comment by andy@cynic

no I don’t think groupon is a new idea. but he hardly wrote about groupon, did he?

and ‘big, smart and publicised to shit’ is the complete antithesis of twitter’s underlying ‘140 character random tat’ which I imagine is the bit they want to preserve (and prove can make revenue, as opposed to return).

now, I have to cut this short. I’m in bed, arguing with you – it’s like a marriage and it’s creeping me out.

Comment by lauren

🙂

Comment by lauren

I am here. I can hear what’s going on.

Comment by Rob

2-timing Doddsy, Lauren. Naughty.

Comment by Rob

saucy bitch. but then who can blame her when its me. id shag me. especially over doddsy. and why the fuck are you trying to make twitter sound like a bunch of cottage industry caring bastards? theyre the most overfuckinghyped thing of the last 12 months so if thats not big and publicised to shit i dont know what is. youll be saying star wars fucking 4 (or 1 if youre a nerdy twat) was a little independent movie next.

good job i fucking love you and your pissed off nature.

Comment by andy@cynic

Lauren, you bring the lolz!

Comment by Age

Never encourage him to write.

Comment by John

or breathe.

Comment by andy@cynic

Out of curiosity how many of you have actually used or completely understand the mechanics of groupon?

And I agree with Lauren – Rob this is a lazy post. If I understand you right, when you say adland should get back to doing what they are brilliant at that means ‘understanding consumers/solving business problems’

If so the given that groupon is one of China’s biggest trends right now: http://trends.google.com/websites?q=lashou.com,+meituan.com&sa=N
at the very least we should not understand how it works/alters consumers buying habits/have a opinion as to how it could be creatively used by brands?

Saying it’s coupons with a technology add on.
Is the same as saying itunes is a record shop with a technology add on.
Which it is but it’s also led to industry changing upheavals.

Comment by Patrick

sorry patrick what the fuck have you done? you come across like you invented the fucking thing but you didnt and im guessing youre old enough to have seen the need but did fuck all about it which is what rob is slagging off about adland as well so pull your fucking head in and start realising the issue is about addressing needs and then the mechanics matter.

Comment by andy@cynic

How exactly is it a lazy post Patrick?

Sure I could have written more information – or more accurately, more detailed information about how groupon works – but the basic issue I have with it [which is comms industry related, not tech or usage related] is that groupon is not a new business idea, it is built on the original principals of trade – something major organisations have been using in their production management for centuries and to imply anything different is wrong.

To be honest I don’t know what your point is. I am agreeing that adland should have embraced this years ago – hell, I’m saying they should have invested in the tech behind it – so whilst the mechanics are interesting, the reason it works is driven by human needs, not tech.

Comment by Rob

Don’t worry Andy, I’ve just found out who Patrick is and I’ll help give him a more rounded view. His comment was more focused on the issue of the title of the post than the comment, so he has more of a point, but not all of it. Haha.

Comment by Rob

Just some points on iTunes and Groupon being gamechangers. iTunes incorporated changes in specific products and their usage/utility/distribution. I argue Groupon does not. It just drives on the ‘going for the cheaper option’ (a contrary to what iTunes did when it comes to digital content, e.g. music) and probably herd behavior. Did someone say minimum wage?
Groupon is one more element in the supply chain, not adding any real value but making some bucks. Did someone say globalization and digitalization would flatten out hierarchies?
It is not healthy for an economy and the majority of stakeholders to drive a ‘hunting for cheap’ behavior and flash mobbing POS, forcing local businesses to rethink price calculation, adding extra competitiveness and uncertainty. This is not what the ‘powerful consumer’ concept should be used for. Groupon? Successful or not, I am against it. Apart form that, surely, it can be used to have a better ROI than e-/DM, print, radio, TV or social media Tohu wa bohu under certain conditions. One more reason to loathe it :).

Comment by Evolution

This is just like the post you wrote about social media ages ago. You just copied and pasted it, changed social to groupon, added some more pointless words and stuck it back up. I’d prove it but spending a few minutes trying to find a post no one read in the first place would be a few minutes of my life I’d never get back.

Now do groupon do deals with escort agencies?

Comment by Billy Whizz

No but there is an industry-specific version of groupon. Im surprised Northern hadn’t told you.

Comment by John

Yes John, but ‘escort agencies’ oop North are places where Ford Escort drivers go.

Comment by Rob

thats where you met your first girlfriend isnt it campbell? ms ford fucking escort.

Comment by andy@cynic

That was bad even for you.

Comment by Rob

Is that what she used to tell you?

Comment by John

youre back on the christmas card list doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Say’s the unmarried man and the thrice married man.

Comment by Rob

that makes me 3 times better than you. and if i throw in the near mistakes, that makes me 7 times better.

Comment by andy@cynic

Are you suggesting I’m a client or an escort?

Comment by northern

Wow. Surprise. Advertising executive tries to take credit for the idea behind Groupon. Please! When was the last time the ad industry came up with a great idea? You guys think you are the bomb. News flash, you aint. Isn’t it time for you lunch?

Comment by Jack

Errrrm Jack, you do realise this is exactly what this post is about. I know I rant a lot of shit and it’s easy to miss the point I’m trying to make – but I really thought the first few paras said it. Shows what I know.

Comment by Rob

OK fair point. I was a bit hot under the collar when I wrote that. I just immediately thought, geeeez what the hell is wrong with you people. I do think Groupon is a top idea and its executed well. But yeah, shame it wasn’t embraced by a big brand all those years ago.

Comment by Jack

Don’t worry Jack, over-reacting is in the DNA of this blog. Or at least the comments, ha.

Comment by Rob

You know what, Jack, although I am free to say what I want, and could insult anyone and scream and what not, well, no one would hear me scream, anyway, I just have to plainly disagree with your point that an “Advertising executive tries to take credit for the idea behind Groupon”. I don’t think it is possible to read that meaning into Rob’s words.

Comment by Evolution

Dear Evolution,

So now I know two things about you:

You have a large chip.

You think you possess a spine.

Ciaran

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

Since you now know all that now, don’t you think it’s very clever then that I managed to hide from you (and anyone else who is in the know) who I am :)?

PS: I am not “Jack”.

PPS: Rob, I am just back to respond to Ciaran.

Comment by Evolution

No.
Ciaran

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

🙂

Comment by Evolution

Is Ciaran Andy’s Dad? I think we all deserve to know …

Comment by Rob

You “invented” groupon Robert? May I ask why this wasn’t brought to our attention when we were in negotiations for the a330.

Comment by Lee Hill

Stop your complaining Lee, you’re good for it. I also invented electricity, the jet engine and the internet.

Comment by Rob

I wished you would post in my time zone.

Comment by Marcus

I’d of thought you would be glad I didn’t, haha!

Comment by Rob

I miss all the fun. And Ciaran. I like him, he’s a grown up.

Comment by Marcus

But I’ve always posted in this timezone – bar 5 or 6 months in the US. Is it because you’re not in the shed now that suddenly time is even more precious? 😉

Ciaran freaks me out. But in a good way. Please tell me he’s not Sacrum’s Dad/Brother/Cousin. You know what I mean, ha!

Comment by Rob

Nothing to do with me.

Comment by Marcus

That makes me like him even more.

How is everything going with the gig? Email me man …

Comment by Rob

I am not Evolution

Comment by northern

I know, their spelling is better.

Comment by Rob

Or is that just the disguise?
In other news, my little fed himself a whole meal with a spoon last night.

Comment by northern

Your little what?

Oh you mean your little one. Toptastic … what was on the menu?

Comment by Rob

Never mind spelling mistakes, I even miss whole words, that comment could have been read in so many ways, nice to see you have a clean mind
It was daddy’s lasagne, I’m sure you’re proud it was an Italian meal
Amazing how bollocks a day you can have and all you need is a little mop headed terrorist to cheer you up with simple, non-sensical stuff

Comment by northern

are you talking about your son and how easy he can cheer up his miserable bastardo of a dad or quoting your wife about you?

note i didnt swear in respect of your boy. now send me money as gratitude.

ps) bastardo is not english swearing and so he wont understand it.

Comment by andy@cynic

My wife would never describe me as a mop head for obvious reasons, while my son has enough chestnut coloured foliage to carpet you gargantuan, half built house

Comment by northern

i was thinking shed be saying it more for ironic fucking statement purposes than pissing fact.

Comment by andy@cynic

Agency create good ideas
Agency gets hired
Client only buys bad idea
Results are crap
Agency get fired

Happens all too often, but let’s never let it stop us trying to do good work.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

If a client doesn’t buy your good idea, it just means you’ve not explained yourself properly.Or that you didn’t present your idea or your plan in a way that is as appealing for them as it is for you.

Well, sometimes 😀

Comment by Rafik

been listening to campbell too much rafik. stop it.

Comment by andy@cynic

I almost got in trouble for pointing that out to somebody rather senior in adland last week. Thought I was being so smart.And by almost got in trouble, I mean I had to write an apology email.

So maybe you’re on to something Andy…

Comment by Rafik

you had to write an apology for pointing out that when something dies on its fucking arse, theres always 2 fuckers involved? who the fuck was the twat that lives in egoland and why didnt you hit your fucking boss for saying you should do it.

fuck, im saying campbell can be right arent i. bollocks.

Comment by andy@cynic

[…] Rob has been writing some clear and precise posts about adlands problems.. […]

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