Counterpoint: CP+B, Groupon and a Little Bit of Magic


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Following is my counterpoint to Jesse Noyes’ earlier article “The Anatomy of a Groupon Ad.” Who do you agree with, Joe or Jesse? We’d love to read your comments.

If emotions could be trademarked, “shock” would be the intellectual property of creative wondershop Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The Boulder, CO self-described “factory” woke the advertising world in 2001 when it surreptitiously introduced the Subservient Chicken as perhaps the world’s least-likely mascot, and it has been rubbing smelling salts under viewers’ noses ever since. From the straight-out-of-Faces-of-Death Volkswagon TV spots to gross-out burger-scented cologne, CP+B is to advertising what Howard Stern was to public radio: a drop of moonshine in the water cooler.

So when CP+B became the agency of record for daily deal site Groupon, nobody should have been surprised by the output – especially given that Groupon was enjoying a uniquely cocksure moment coming off an alleged $6 billion offer from Google. $6 billion buys a lot of ego. Nobody goes from launch to a $2 billion run rate in two years by being naïve; yet if Groupon didn’t know exactly what they were getting when they brought CP+B on board, then naïveté would be the only acceptable charge. But the company has been too successful too fast for that accusation to hold up.

Groupon knew they were buying with CP+B in the same way that Alec Baldwin’s character on NBC’s hit comedy 30 Rock knew what he was hiring when he inked loose cannon Tracy Morgan to star in the mock Girlie Show. Controversy by design. Water cooler conversation at 200 proof.

The only thing truly shocking about Groupon’s “polarizing” Super Bowl ads (conveniently pulled today, creating another bump in the buzz) is that any of us were shocked at all. We ooh and ahh every time the magician pulls the same rabbit out of the same trick hat. I’m not immune, either. This point-counterpoint post with my colleague is documented evidence. I know the hat is doctored, but still I marvel every time the bunny re-appears.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joe Chernov
Joe is responsible for identifying, sourcing and distributing Eloqua's market-facing content over all relevant social channels. He also oversees public relations, analyst relations and social media. Joe doubles as @eloqua on Twitter. He co-chairs the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's member ethics panel and speaks at conferences and universities about social media and marketing ethics.


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