Groupon Promo, Case study LIVE OFF GROUPON by Groupon

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Industry Online Retail & E-stores
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Groupon
Released January 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Social Media
Advertiser: GROUPON
Director of Communications: Julie Mossler (Groupon)
PR Associate: Kelsey O'Neill (Groupon)
PR Associate: Chad Nason (Groupon)
Vice President Marketing: Mark Desky (Groupon)
Media placement: Promo Website (Company Blog Http:// - Picked Up Nationally/locally - 4 February 2010

Summary of the Campaign
Groupon developed Live Off Groupon (, a contest and social media campaign to challenge one customer to quit his job, give up his life and use nothing but Groupons (NO CASH) to travel the U.S. for a year. Josh Stevens began his journey in May 2010, bartering and using Groupons to eat, travel and even find a place to stay. If Josh makes it to May 10, 2011, he will earn $100,000.

Top line objectives included introducing and engaging customers in the Groupon brand and offbeat personality, demonstrating the value and ease of Groupon usage and showcasing the variety and quality of Groupon deals - all via the Groupawn's adventures.

The strategy was twofold: contest and campaign. The contest positioned the opportunity as a one-in-a-lifetime adventure courtesy of Groupon. The campaign brought the existence of the Groupon to life by leveraging social media - Facebook, Twitter, Blog - to execute. We also plotted Groupawn's course based on key markets for boosting Groupon awareness.

Outcome: To date, the Live Off Groupon campaign has visited 40+ cities, 2 continents, grown to 2,000+ Twitter followers and 12,000+ FB fans and achieved 33 million media impressions (print and broadcast, not including extensive online coverage).

The Situation
Groupon is a shopping website offering discounts on the best local goods, services and cultural events in more than 500 markets and 45 countries worldwide, from sushi to skydiving. Barely a year old, Groupon was not yet a household name in December 2009. A PR campaign was needed to bring Groupon and its benefits to life while keeping with the site's quirky brand of humour.

Live Off Groupon was developed as a social media PR campaign to introduce and create buzz around the fast growing e-commerce brand.

The Goal
1. Introduce and engage Groupon and its offbeat personality among new subscribers.
2. Demonstrate value and ease of use of Groupon.
3. Showcase variety of deals.
4. Communicate quality of Groupon brand.

Target audience analysis: he campaign needed to reach new customers while establishing Groupon as the leader in the social commerce space. Our goal was to reach both current and new customers with a strategy that both entertained and motivated these groups.

Contest: Exploration of similar video-submission contests.
Campaign: Determining overall quantity of vouchers needed and researching reality show contracts/screening procedures.

The Strategy
Contest: use complicated entry to attract a candidate likely to work hard to complete the challenge. Introduce customer voting and social media sharing tools to encourage virality. Position Live Off Groupon as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure courtesy of Groupon.

Campaign: bring the Groupawn's entire existence online; leverage social media to help the Groupawn avoid using cash. Groupons do not cover tax and tip, so Josh used his blog (, Twitter and Facebook to connect with strangers to help him cover cost of service and the most basic daily tasks. Mandating the use of Groupons required Josh to explain the concept of Groupon to people every single day.

Work with the Groupawn to identify markets with the greatest media exposure; New York City during Internet Week, etc. Although Josh did not have to comply, his need for exposure and consumer engagement ensured he'd try to get the most media attention possible.

- Video entries accepted February - March 2010
-Voting at
- Contest pushed among media contacts
- Best and worst uploaded to YouTube, pushed among Groupon Facebook and Twitter
- 7 finalists chosen March 2010
- Finalist interviews held at Groupon Headquarters March 2010
- Video posted announcing Josh Stevens as The Groupawn April 2010

- Coordinated with approximately 30 merchants each for 40 cities, purchasing enough Groupons for 63 meals, 15 activities and 5 health/city
- Arranged corporate sponsors
- Groupawn began journey from Groupon office May 10, 2010 with nothing but a digital camera, laptop, iPhone, Flip camera, emergency credit card, suit made of Groupons and sleep apnea machine
- Since then, he has bartered, begged and traded to visit 40 cities across the U.S. and the UK
- local and national media coverage

Documented Results
Live Off Groupon has been an overwhelming success and a fascinating study on generosity of strangers. American families have opened their homes to Josh! The team is most satisfied with the press generated on local merchants' behalf; Josh and a merchant have been interviewed by at least one major TV affiliate and/or newspaper in every city he has visited.

Noteworthy media include but not limited to The Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee; NY Times; CBS's Inside Edition,; and countless local outlets in 40+ cities.
- 20,000+ Contest Submissions
- 33 Million Media Impressions (Goal: 40M - print and broadcast only)
- 12+ National Placements (Goal: 10)
- 1 National “Morning Show" Television (Today Show) (Goal: 1)
-12,000+ Followers on Live Off Groupon Facebook Page
- Named #1 Game-Changing Social Media Campaign by Mashable
- PRWeek Award for Arts & Entertainment Campaign of the Year.