Rashmi Menon

Groupon: Crazy communiqué

The four-week campaign, which marks Groupon India's first anniversary, aims to target a larger consumer group with crazy deals and offers.

Groupon India, formerly known as Crazeal (the announcement of name change was done recently), has come out with its first Indian television commercials (TVCs) to mark its first anniversary in India. Like many other players in the online deal segment, the global company, too, has resorted to humour in its TVCs to drive home the message, 'If you want craziest deals, visit Groupon'.

Groupon: Crazy communiqué
Groupon: Crazy communiqué
Groupon: Crazy communiqué
Groupon: Crazy communiqué
The campaign is created by Mumbai-based Ideas@Work, founded by Zarvan Patel and Prashant Godbole. It comprises four creative films - Street, Restaurant, Travel and Birthday - produced by Films Group. All the films show the online company's versatile offers across various service sectors.

The film titled Street begins with an old grandmotherly figure who charges towards two young handbag thieves on the narrow uneven lanes of a market. She finally catches up with them and reclaims her bag by punching one and giving a karate chop to the other. The text below reads 'Karate class at just Rs 149', urging viewers to visit Groupon India's website for 'the craziest deals in town'. The ad ends with the two thieves moaning with pain and the text, 'Full body massage for just Rs 249'.

In the 'Restaurant' TVC, a pot bellied man finishes his meal and is about to get up when his shirt's button pops out. Complete chaos ensues as the camera follows the button's trajectory, which not only injures other customers but also destroys restaurant property. The text reads 'All you-can-eat buffets at just Rs 199'. The 'Travel' and 'Birthday' ads show unbelievable offers for five star hotel rates in a foreign country, and for kitchen appliances on Groupon India's website.

Sachin Kapur, CMO, Groupon India, explains that the concept behind the campaign was to reach out to a wider consumer base. "When we started off, we understood that the online deal space was crowded. To stand apart, our brand ethos focuses on experience from the offers than the offers itself. Hence, we focused on quality merchandise and promoted ourselves in social media and through experience-oriented marketing exercises."

Groupon now has a good number of consumers who have tried its offers and experienced its service. Kapur believes that when this group watches the TVCs, they will in turn influence their family members and friends to visit Groupon India's site.

As for the touch of humour in the campaign, Kapur explains, "Humour has been the essential part of our global communication strategy. Even when we explain about an offer, it is written with humour in it. So, for the Indian campaign, too, we followed a similar tone of voice. Humour is the best way to break the clutter. And, you can engage with consumers only when they like you, are entertained and want to converse with you."

Groupon: Crazy communiqué
While the television campaign will continue for four weeks, Groupon has released two animated ads. It will extend the campaign to on ground activities, out of home, digital and social media platforms in the second leg of the campaign, which starts next week.

"For on ground activities, we plan to focus on airports and Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. In Kolkata, we are also evaluating radio, so that our ads can engage with the consumers in local language," Kapur says.

The ads will be uploaded on Groupon's YouTube channel. The campaign aims to target people in the age group of 25-34 years and focuses on 10 major cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Ahmedabad).

Building up a craze?

Industry insiders give a tepid response to the campaign, albeit appreciating the humour and teaser elements of the films.

Groupon: Crazy communiqué
Groupon: Crazy communiqué
Sohini Dasgupta, ECD, Publicis Ambience, says that while the films are nice individually, they are disconnected. "Humour is the central plank in the campaign. But they are still struggling to belong to one core thought. The 'Street' and 'Travel' TVCs are nice. They have elements of surprise as well as humour. As a person from the audience, I will enjoy these films, as it will bring a smile to my face," she says.

Dheeraj Sinha, head, planning, South and Southeast Asia, Grey, believes that while the campaign does a good job of building curiosity about Groupon, the light weight and funny approach may not be enough to position the brand. "These ads work like funny teasers; they set up a certain set of expectations about Groupon. The key task would be to drive the initial traffic and this campaign will certainly make people check Groupon out. In some ways it does entice you by telling you that you have absolutely unbelievable deals waiting for you out there. And, I wouldn't read anything beyond that in this effort," Sinha says.

As for Groupon's positioning, it will depend on how Groupon manages to satiate the curiosity created by this communication and its actions from here on, he adds. Sinha also feels that each TVC tries to entice a different set of consumers. "So in that respect, it's a bit of carpet bombing strategy," he says.

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