We’ve reached an new all-time low in social marketing when a company is heralded for making dick jokes. This week Groupon gave us the Bike Chain Wash and Scrub Kit (see image above), the sequel to its Banana Bunker (see image below) stunt back in March. Many in the ad industry press point to both stunts as best-in-class examples of social media marketing. I call bulls!t.
I’ve written before about the utter stupidity of most real-time marketing efforts, and while neither of the Groupon stunts were attempts to provide real-time commentary about a social/cultural event, they do share a common element with real-time marketing efforts: assuming the role of Internet Class Clown.
Now don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with humor, nothing wrong with a brand not taking itself too seriously and attempting to have a little fun. The problem is that this tactic is no longer novel; it no longer sets a brand apart. Rather, it simply adds to the cacophony of brand voices yelling, “Hey, look how clever and funny we think we are!”
And while the response to these social media parlor tricks may stroke the egos of the content managers and copywriters who author them, at least in the case of Groupon there is little evidence to suggest all the lolz are moving the needle. As of today, Groupon’s stock has fallen 22% since the first of the year and is worth a mere 25% of its 2011 IPO value.
Dick jokes may sell a lot of Banana Bunkers, but apparently they don’t do much for share value. At this rate, Groupon may be riding its social media engagement wave all the way to Chapter 11.