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Groupon's Presidents Day 'mistake' is marketing move of the year

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Alexander Hamilton is pictured on the $10 bill, but he was never president.
Alexander Hamilton is pictured on the $10 bill, but he was never president. - (Businesswire)

So Groupon's Presidents Day promotion offers $10 off certain deals — in honor of President Alexander Hamilton.

The historical gaffe has been noted by almost all national media outlets, making it ...
 
The genius marketing move of the year.

That's right. All publicity is good publicity. Especially when you're a struggling deal-of-the-day website that has been a disappointment to investors since it actually has had to prove the idea works in reality (not just in the theory). But we digress.
 
So what better way to draw attention to your brand than an obvious historical mistake — one that has landed Groupon on CNN, Fox News and just about every other major media outlet?
 
Would anyone be talking about Groupon if it were giving $5 discounts in honor of Abraham Lincoln, an actual president?
 
Groupon hasn't admitted the mistake is intentional (most media outlets seemed to miss this possibility). Then again, Groupon hasn't been quick to correct it.
 
In fact, Groupon has been mostly silent about the incident since it first came to light on Friday: "We'll just have to agree to disagree," a spokesman told myFoxNY.
 
Then there's a new Prez Alex Hamilton twitter account that says he's "a lover of good deals" — and includes a number of historically dry tweets: "I visited Colonial Williamsburg when it was just called Williamsburg."
 
So we say, well played, Groupon.
 
We're not sure if this is going to save your struggling idea, but we do know this: It's made you a talker this weekend — and figures to bring more people to your site than have been there in months.
 
And isn't that the ultimate goal of marketing?
 
Of course, there's more to business than marketing.
 
Groupon still needs to prove it can be more than a one-weekend wonder. After all, in the midst of the nearly 50 stories on a Google search for Groupon is one titled: "Groupon must prove model works, say analysts."
 
Now that's the honest truth.

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