I was watching "American Idol" the other night (yes, alright, alright), when something resembling an ad for Groupon appeared.
It was a simple little thing. There was a calendar, a voiceover telling me about all the different kinds of deals the company offers, and little bits of animation appeared on the calendar, as the deals were described. Oh, and the calendar had some strange days of the week like "Frankenday" and "Grund."
"Oh," I thought. "After all the controversy surrounding its rather fine ads making fun of American charity, Groupon's decided to eat a little vanilla."
So I thought I'd embed it for you, just in case you weren't in love with Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, or nice boys singing old hits and wearing H&M.
Here's the strange thing: I couldn't find this ad on YouTube. I couldn't even find it on Groupon's own blog.
This all seemed rather odd. It seemed strange that a rather odd company--one that celebrates its rather oddness--would send an ad out into the jungle of "American Idol," while not seeming too proud of it.
I know that the Timothy Hutton "Tibet" ad stirred a few slightly sad people into angry speech, but Groupon's apparent shyness still seemed unbecoming. So I contacted Groupon and a very nice spokeswoman, Julie Mossler, told me that this was "a new spot to fill ad time left vacant when we pulled the Super Bowl ads."
But why can't we find it anywhere other than during Ryan Seacrest's bathroom breaks? Mossler explained: "Since it's just a short-term campaign, it didn't make sense to publicize it."
But, but, it always makes sense to publicize something that's, well, out there in the most popular show in America, isn't it?
Or is Groupon worried that this ad, hurriedly made with little cartoons of various deals, makes the company seem rather similar to LivingSocial, which has advertised heavily of late. LivingSocial's ads feature, well, the different kinds of deals it has.
Mossler stood up boldly for her company's work. "I think there are plenty of touches in the ad [for example, the imaginary names for days of the week] that show that we have more personality than just another deal site." she told me.
Then why not put it on your blog and on YouTube? I can offer you this link to see the ad--and it really is a perfectly nice, innocuous piece of communication.
But, given that I'm still unable to locate an embeddable copy (I have posted a screenshot above), I've slipped in a new LivingSocial spot below, and hopefully you will be able to compare and contrast.
I do hope that Groupon doesn't lose its bold, pioneering spirit, and that it truly will find a way to differentiate itself from the plethora of competitors that are now desperate to prey on America's great weakness--the appeal of the deal.