Hire Crispin, Ruffle Feathers

Coupons are on fire. I suppose we needn’t be surprised–coupons tap a basic consumer instinct to save money. Yet, the meteoric rise of Living Social and Groupon is a story that’s hard to fully grasp.

In a little over two years, Groupon, the Chicago company stared by Andrew Mason, 30, a former rock band keyboardist, has managed to build what could be the fastest-growing company of all time. Groupon’s deal-of-the-day business is set to generate $3 billion to $4 billion in revenue this year, up from $750 million in 2010, according to BusinessWeek.

Personally, I don’t know how a company can grow that rapidly and keep it all together. And as we know from Groupon’s offensive Super Bowl spots, the company is not on top of all things at all times. Of course, some people didn’t see the spots as lame. Lawrence O’Donnell, for instance.

Mason now says he placed too much trust in Crispin Porter & Bogusky “to be edgy, informative and entertaining, and we turned off the part of our brain where we should have made our own decisions. We learned that you can’t rely on anyone else to control and maintain your own brand.”

That’s correct. Brands are built from the inside out. Without a visionary client who actively seeks the best thinking from the best marketers money can buy, there’s no great work. In Groupon’s case (where word-of-mouth fuels their fire), there is little need for brand advertising. The company not only bombed during the Super Bowl, they had little need to be there in the first place.

Previously on AdPulp: Super Bowl XLV Commercial: Last Night’s Big Mistake



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.