As one of the first and most popular social buying sites, Groupon differentiates itself once again from its competitors by establishing its own holiday. The fact that it begins on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving and continues through Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa might smack a bit like overt commercialism, but with deals up to 90 percent off, I think a lot of seasonal shoppers are going to be celebrating "Grouponicus" this holiday season.
Complete with it's own Santa Claus figure, Groupo, the Bargain Bird is pictured as a "dapper, snake-tailed" mascot and Groupon has gone as far as developing a "folklore" backstory as if he has existed for centuries.
However, differing from Kris Kringle, Groupo "uses his nimble snake-tail to unlock your attic windows so that he may leave neatly stacked Groupons inside the ovens of the true believers," and kids are requested to leave Groupo's favorite snack, a pile of sand on their doorsteps to welcome the gift-giver. More on the Groupo legend that starts at the dawn of man and leads down through the Industrial Ages and the present day can be found on Groupon's Web site.
Important to note, there are Grouponicus Tenets that shoppers need to be aware of if they want to qualify for the 50-90% off deals - some of which are added just for laughs. For instance Tenet No.5 indicates that for the duration of Grouponicus, "you cannot own a dog." I can only assume that this tenet was added because canines pose a threat to the Bargain Bird.
Dissimilar to Santa Claus, apparently Groupo has geolocation restrictions. It doesn't have the ability to go global this year. As the Web site indicates, "in addition to being celebrated in the hearts, minds and succulent pineal glands of all Groupon-loving persons, Grouponicus holiday stores will only be open in the following ciites:
Grouponicus Cities 2010
Unlike Groupon's original social shopping model of one deal per day, each Grouponicus deal is available for three to five days. Groupon's other offerings however are available to holiday shoppers as well. For instance when you refer a friend to the shopping site, users receive $10 Groupon Bucks - and there's no limit on how how many referrals you make.
Groupon's Referral Program
Creating such an elaborate ruse of a promotion is an indicator how competitive the social shopping space is becoming. Last year, a site called CheapTweet used Twitter to promote discounted holiday sales, and this year Blinkx.com introduced the Cheep Community as a browser add-on feature to offer deals at over 200 of the Internet's largest retailers, including Amazon, BestBuy and Walmart.
However, hats off to Groupon for actually creating "a holiday." While not quite as hilarious as Festivus, a sham holiday handed down by the Romans and perpetuated by Frank Costanza on the TV hit show Seinfeld back in 1997 - it's still is an ingenious promotional campaign to attract more customers their way this holiday season.