Deal or No Deal

August 23, 2011

Like many people I get my daily delivery of City, Living Social and Groupon deals into my inbox, initially it was a thrill to see what I, the a-typical post-recession consumer could get at a 50-90% discount, however now, having had a few too many bad experiences I tend to err on the side of caution and my enthusiasm has slightly waned for these deals, all too often I skim and delete, unless somebody recommends or steers me back to the deal.

Recently my sister told me to get in quick, that I had an hour left to buy a fantastic deal on offer from the reputable online grocer, Chefs Garden Direct, a luxury hamper of goodies, at least a week’s shopping for €42, I succumbed to the deal but was slightly worried given that over 2,500 in Dublin had done the same thing.

I ‘m not writing this to complain or defamate any company but more to highlight what happened next…..CGD website went “off air”, their Facebook page closed down, as did their Twitter. After a few days the CBD website redirected to a single page saying that they were   desperately sorry that they had been mislead by Groupon and massacred with orders that they were struggling to find the capital to source all orders. However, in the meantime- the damage to the brand had already begun, social media has democratised society and given us a platform to speak which never existed before. Boards has a tirade of abuse from dis-satisfied Groupon customers, likewise when CBDs Facebook page reopened the circus that unravelled there was like a live episode of Eastenders. The spiteful comments got so out of hand that that many were deleted and blocked from the FB page, meanwhile on boards the board’s moderator had to be brought into control that page.

Looking at all this from a media perspective, one can’t help but feel that for many brands investing money in a traditional or more controlled environment may reap better results. Whilst the strategy behind Groupon is  “buzz” and gaining immediate exposure it does not  necessarily mean repeat customers. A media campaign  can be target specific, attract & target the customers that will give the business long term benefits and come back for more, not simply the “one deal wonders”. On another level, the staggering of media activity allows peaks and troughs in the business, which for the likes of retail/local/small businesses is extremely important allowing the necessary balance between man power and product. Such was the overwhelming response to the deal that CBD couldn’t cope with the level of orders, let alone their regular loyal customers. Lastly, essentially what we aim to with a brand is build them and define them, one has to wonder, is a brand  in danger of diluting  itself by associating  with hefty discounts in the region of 50-90%

Whilst, the proprietors of CGD perhaps should  have known the full extent of what they were committing to, one can’t help but have sympathy for a genuine local business who have established themselves in such a tough media environment. I genuinely hope that they come out the right side of this deal- and I’m willing to wait for my delivery!



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