Last Saturday morning while sipping a large cup of coffee, I read an interesting article in the Washington Post about Groupon. The company’s Groupawn, a 28-year-old who quit a job as a waiter in Chicago, is living for one year on nothing but Groupons. He’s not using cash; he’s bartered for clothing and food with Groupons. The spa deals are the most sought-after commodity, according to the article.
Although certainly not a plausible publicity stunt (or marketing strategy) for many companies, I think it’s a good idea for Groupon for several reasons:
- They’re increasing awareness about their brand, and the Post article certainly didn’t hurt. The Groupawn is on Facebook, Twitter, has a blog and appeared on the Today Show.
- Groupon is creating an exclusive member society. It’s like a secret club offering sales. Who doesn’t love a sale? And a secret sale? Even better.
- The publicity stunt has taken advantage of a network already in place. This group of people is helping the Groupawn reach his goal: to use only Groupons, not touch money for a year and win $100,000. People around the country are offering to pick up the Groupawn, Josh, at various airports and give him a place to stay, in exchange for Groupons.
- They know their audience and will save big. Instead of finding a celebrity spokesperson, Groupon found a normal guy from middle America. The $100,000 prize Josh might win is significantly less than a celebrity spokesperson would charge. And why pay a celebrity? Groupon is a service for the middle class, not celebrities. Oddly enough, the Groupawn will become a sort of celebrity, though he’s probably known better as the “Groupon guy” than by his actual name, or from a talent or hit song.