Southern New Hampshire Real Estate and Short Sales: President's Day Groupon Ad - Boneheaded or Brilliant?

President's Day Groupon Ad - Boneheaded or Brilliant?

Late last week Groupon put out a press release indicating that they were "Celebrating President's Day by Honoring Alexander Hamilton".  The press release went on to say, "the $10 dollar bill, as everyone knows, features President Alexander Hamilton--undeniably one of our greatest Presidents and most widely recognized for establishing the country's financial system."

$10 Dollar Bill

A number of websites and blogs, etc. immediately picked up on the mistake (which is somewhat reassuring) and immediately began torturing them over their apparent ignorance.  Word has it that at one point during a Twitter exchange, a Groupon representative responded, "We respect everyone's beliefs.  You're certainly entitled to your opinion." 

Huh?  Could the good folks at Groupon really be that confused about fact vs. opinion?  Do they really need an emergency history lesson?  Or, do they subscribe to the "any publicity is good publicity" school of thought?  Were they attempting to help their offer go viral by getting people to write and talk about their apparent stupidity?  If the latter is the case, I think it might have worked.

Upon reflection FOUR questions come to mind:

  1. Do you think this is a case of ignorance or a marketing ploy?
  2. What do you think about this type of marketing ploy?
  3. Rather than ignorance or a ploy to get folks talking about their apparent blunder, do you think this could be yet another case of an entity just flat out ignoring facts because it doesn't fit their story line?  They wanted to offer $10 off, they wanted to link it to President's Day.  Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 bill but he wasn't a President.  Aaahh, so what?!?! 
  4. How many people do you think are unaware that Alexander Hamilton was never President?



When you're finished contemplating the decline of society, follow this link and let this song put a smile back on your face:



Comment balloon 68 commentsJoy Baker • February 17 2014 07:44AM


Joy:  I read an article the other day reporting that 1 out of 4 Americans doesn't realize that the earth revolves around the sun.  I think therein lies the answer to two of your questions ...

Do I think it's a marketing ploy?  Nope ...


PS:  Excellent post and catch!  Suggested ...

Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) over 6 years ago

Thank you, Gene.  Truthfully, I don't know which is more frightening, that they would subscribe to such dishonest marketing techniques or that they are that ignorant.

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Joy, did they have a companion feature about President Benjamin Franklin who is on the $100 bill and what a fantastic president he was???   ^_~

Posted by Sharon & Bruce Walter, West Lafayette homes for sale (Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN) over 6 years ago

Ah, does make one wonder what the true intention of their "error" was created for.  Yet, they did create some activity in responding to the ad.  Maybe not what they really wanted, or was it?  Problem is, too many of the populace, probably do not know the truth!!  Not so sure that is Groupon's problem!

Posted by Dan Hopper, Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale (Keller Williams Realty Downtown LLC) over 6 years ago

Mistake that turns around depending on the damage control to spin it as one brilliant way to keep the attention going. Or folks in the audience going, hey, I feel stupid because he or she thought if Alex made the bill, got all green with envy must have done time in the oval office too. No, Ben Franklin did not either but pulled it off other ways to hitch a ride on some folding currency.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 6 years ago

It's really funny.  FACT CHECKING???

Goodness, their designer/writer must be a fact checker for the NY Times or Washington Post.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Joy,

I think that the general population does not know that Hamilton was not a President.  Maybe Groupon counted on that fact.  Hard to believe that the team at Groupon who created the ad campaign did not know the information was wrong.

Best of GREAT success to you in 2014!

Posted by Jordon Wheeler, J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service (The Jordon Wheeler Group) over 6 years ago could they not have done any research for a national ad/email for Presidents' Day?  Ploy?

Posted by Alyse "Aly" Sands (Village Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

Very good marketing.

Posted by Jim Miner, Loan Modfication & Short Sale Specialist (Miner Noh & Associates) over 6 years ago

#3 - Silly Wabbit - Prez Ben Franklin discovered Gravity when lightning hit his kite and it fell on his head while he was being pulled on a Para-glider behind his Jet-Ski.......

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\) over 6 years ago

We seem to be in an era where we debate facts, not ideas. No wonder things like this come up!  I suspect it is a cleverly designed spiral campaign - everyone is talking about Groupon today.

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) over 6 years ago

I caught part of a news info thing this morning where only about 40% of people surveyed knew that the earth revolved around the sun.  Are we dumber than ever before, or do we think it just doesn't matter, because we can always Google it?

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 6 years ago

Marketing is simply getting the consumers attention, so, apparently it's working for Groupon, isn't it? This post is being viewed by tens of thousands of consumers, so as Jim, #9 stated, it's very good marketing.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 6 years ago

My guess is that it was done on purpose and had the intended result...lots of social media activity about them. 

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (Coldwell Banker Access Realty ~ 478.960.8055) over 6 years ago

I think it's boneheaded...the average person knows nothing about history as it's barely being taught in school anymore. 

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 6 years ago

Miley who?  No any publicity is not GOOD publicity.  I just don't buy that.  There is no way I would think that if people are talking about my ignorance I would think that's a good thing.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 6 years ago

Brilliant people are talking about you but boneheaded when you know it was someone who does not know their history. Can you believe we are getting more snow? Im so ready for spring

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

Have a feeling the little 3 year-old '160 IQ' Alexis Martin of Arizona probably knew the correct fact. She is the newest member of the Arizona Chapter of Mensa. But I feel it was a genuine error and in covering it up turned into some marketing :)

Posted by Jane Chaulklin-Schott, TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836 (TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766) over 6 years ago

Kind of think that it is whatever to make the phone ring or in this instance create a buzz for the site.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) over 6 years ago

Groupon is known for their creative silly writing, many times with no basis in fact.

I suspect that this is part of their "fun" writing, if this is not the case, somebody 

needs to learn history or at least how to use Wikipedia!

Posted by Pete Xavier, Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide (Investments to Luxury) over 6 years ago

yeah, and what about president ben franklin?  he got the hundred!  clearly a more important president than george bush on  the three dollar bill

Posted by Michael Ford, California+Hawaii+Oregon over 6 years ago

Sharon & Bruce, probably the only reason they don't is because they didn't want to give $100 bucks off anything!

Dan,  I think you are, unfortunately correct.  Too many folks do not know the truth.

Andrew, initially a mistake that they then "spun".  I hadn't considered that.  Quite possible.

You're probably right, Lenn, their fact checker is on loan from the NY Times.


Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Jordon~Groupon probably did know the facts and just ignored them, counting on the ignorance of the general population. 

Success to you, also!

Aly~honestly, I hope it was a ploy.  The alternative is just too frightening.

Jim~any publicity is good publicity?

Travis~was that before or after he invented the internet?

Jeanne~How did we get to the place where we think actual "facts" are debatable?

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Karen~You're the second person who mentioned that news item.  That is just too frightening for words!

Kimo~You're right, it certainly is getting plenty of attention.

Anita~there is certainly plenty of social media activity. If you can get something to go viral it's valuable advertising for cheap money.

Marc~It does seem that history is no longer considered important.  I disagree.  If for no other reason than if you are not familiar with the mistakes of the past, you are doomed to repeat them.



Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Bill~if it was a marketing ploy, I think it's working :)

Pete~I'm not all that familiar with Groupon but if this was meant in "fun" they are probably rolling on the floor laughing at all the outraged folks correcting them!

Michael~They didn't go with "President" Franklin because they didn't want to give 100 bucks off anything...LOL.

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Hi, Joy!


     Alexander Hamilton was a Big Banker.  He wanted a National Bank established in the (new) United States of America.  He wanted that National Bank to profit the historic International banking families of Europe.

     In 1913, Mr. Hamilton's desire became reality.  It is called, "The Federal Reserve Bank".  It is not Federal, it has no Reserves, it is not a "Bank" in the true sense of the word.

     "The Fed" controls the financial lives and the money of every one in the United States.   The Fed is the true legacy of Alexander Hamilton. 




Posted by Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 6 years ago

It is clear, Fred, that you do know your history!

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Joy - What  a funny blooper.  You're right, I bet they knew and just played it off.  Amazing that it happened at all.  Nice history lesson about, re Federal Reserve. 

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) over 6 years ago

And I thought he was famous for the duel with Aaron Burr. Go figure

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 6 years ago

I wonder if we ever will know if this was a goof or a marketing ploy.  At any rate, it has given everyone something to talk about.. so that is always good advertising.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 6 years ago

If you have ever watched Jay Leno's street walking, you know the answer is stupidity.

Posted by David Spencer, Show Me real estate in Kansas City (Keller Williams Northland) over 6 years ago

One thing for certain, it has the public talking about Groupon!  Whether intentioned or not, I think it has worked for them!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 6 years ago

Interesting post Joy!  Any marketing is good marketing?  Yes it's a blooper and shows stupidity but Groupon got people talking about them.

Posted by Jack O'Neal (HomeSmart Elite Group) over 6 years ago

Joy, I think it was just a dumb mistake.  Could be wrong.  And I'll bet a lot of people didn't pick up on it.  And sorry for the bonehead email!  Comes from trying to read too fast!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (Redfin) over 6 years ago

Hello Joy:  I have a wide range of responses and I confess I had to look up Alexander Hamilton to make sure I wasn't a marketing buffoon.

There is common "street language" referring to money as "dead presidents".  Its not too far fetched to understand how many could think that Hamilton and Ben Franklin as fitting into that category.

That said, marketers are suppose to be "educated" and I'm afraid this was a mistake any way you slice it.

Posted by Brian Rugg, Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est (Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700) over 6 years ago

Talking about the "Dumbing Down of America".  They're contributing.  Not a smart.  Dumb.

Posted by Sharon Sanchez, Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate. (Ace Home Realty) over 6 years ago

What do they say "say anything you want say about me but get the name right"

Posted by Charles Stallions Real Estate Services, Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc) over 6 years ago

Jan~That was a good lesson about the Federal Reserve.  Thanks again, Fred!

Ed~Considering that the alleged "straw that broke the camel's back" and caused the duel was Hamilton's journalistic bashing of Burr, it's a good thing politicians aren't dueling today.  They'd all be shooting each other.  Hmmm...

Joan~It has definitely been trending today.

David~I have watched Leno's Street Walking. I never know whether to laugh or cry.

Myrl~It does have everyone talking!

Jack~Groupon has certainly been the center of attention today.

Hi Patricia~I am quite sure you are correct that most people didn't pick up on it.  Thanks for the reblog and the comment!  Bonehead email?  I know nothing ;)

Brian~I had forgotten about the term "dead presidents".  Very good point!


Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago
I wasn't sure about this honestly. Love and light, Laura
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 6 years ago

Sharon~It's entirely possible.

Joyce~That's right...just say something and make sure you spell my name right...LOL.

Laura~Love and light to you, too.

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

My neighbor was just talking about this tonight - he's seen someone saying that on TV and being a retired history professor immediately said "NO, that's not correct!" He was being proud of himself that at age 85 he still had his facts straight.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 6 years ago

I would say it was intentional. Public companies generally are under a lot of scrutiny so for this to have gotten through multiple approval levels would be pretty sad.

Posted by Aaron Hofmann, aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings (Atlanta Communities) over 6 years ago

I am not sure what to think of it but their marketing effort sure gets a lot of attention!

Posted by Wika Hutchinson, Broker, CRIS, SFR, CDPE over 6 years ago

It was caught by the media so it's a toss up as to whether they did this for the play or made a mistake with history.  Maybe they will let us know?

Posted by John F Muscarella, Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast (RIVER FARM PROPERTIES, LLC) over 6 years ago



Posted by Steven Nickens, R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii (Wailea Realty) over 6 years ago

When I saw your link to a song sung by Brad Delp I immediately guessed you were from NH.  Lo and behold...

Brad rocked.


Posted by Joe Kerouac, Real estate agent and writer over 6 years ago

The reply was a canned response to negative remarks. But the whole deal was planned I think. Lame at best IMO. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 6 years ago

Marte~good for him!

Aaron~I actually hope it was intentional as the alternative would be an even sadder statement.

Wilka~It did get a lot of attention.

John~Maybe they will.

Steven - Sure is.

Joe~Hope you followed the link and enjoyed the song.  It was co-written and performed by Brad and my husband, Steve Baker.  Brad did rock!




Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Joy, our news station picked this up yesterday. Probably an honest mistake. What would have happened if they offered $100 off?

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

If it is deliberate then I think it is a terrible idea to purposely create ignorance, and it destroys credibility for me. It is the same reason I won't go to a Chick Fil A with their deliberate misspellings of words in the ads and billboards. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 6 years ago

It seems like you got for more advertising play than it would have if they didn't make the "mistake."

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Scott~I suspect you're correct.

Michael~They would have had to honor "President" Franklin.

Joe~Doesn't that happen all the time now?

Richard~I'm sure you are correct.

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Is it real or is it memorex marketing made people think too

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

I would like to say it is a marketing ploy but these days who knows when you see the groupon rep saying you are entitled to your opinion.   That comment made me say REALLY?   Joe #50 you hurt my Chick Fil A?   

Posted by Andrea Curtis United Country Premier Properties Certified Military Relocation Professional, U C INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR OF MILITARY PROPERTIES (United CountryPremier Properties) over 6 years ago

It never occured to me that it could be deliberate.  Whether stupidity or a mistake, it makes them look . . . stupid.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I could argue this both ways.... but then look at all the attention it got them. Maybe it wasn't deliberate, but sure did get it noticed.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) over 6 years ago

The fact that they knew he helped create our financial system makes the whole thing puzzling. While it could be intentional, it seems like that would be the part that was missing rather than him being president.

Posted by Fred Sed, Your Southern Cali Realtor, Why? Because Fred Se (Fred Sed Group ~ Your Premier Southern California Realtors) over 6 years ago

Joy~ Sad to say, but someone probably made an innocent goof and then they got as much bang out of it as they could, OR it was a true ploy. Either way, it worked for them, I'm sure.

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Too funny.  I was wondering what Alexander Hamilton was if not "President" and had to Google that.  Now I'll be sure to win at Trivia when this question comes up!  Not sure how stupid people operate, so I don't know how it happened.  Deliberate?  Unintentional?  Don't know . . . don't care.  But, I do love your line "When you're finished contemplating the deline of society . . ."  TOO FUNNY!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 6 years ago

It has been said there is no such thing as bad publicity.  I would not want to get mine that way.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Good point, Richie!

Andrea~That comment elicited the same response from me.

Margaret~I don't think they care.

Nina~It could be either way.

Donna~If the goal was lots of attention.  It definitely worked.

Fred~Good point!

Carla~You've got to keep laughing!




Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Gene~Apparently Groupon doesn't care!

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Makes one wonder? sometimes I think people may mis-s pell a word just to get someone's attention too!

Posted by MaryBeth Mills Muldowney, Massachusetts Broker Owner (TradeWinds Realty Group LLC) over 6 years ago

Why let facts get in the way of a good marketing campaign. LOL.

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 over 6 years ago

As many others have said, they say no such thing as bad publicity. I prefer to keep mine good, but in a different industry. I'm torn between good or bad on this one.

Posted by Stefan Winter, Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech (Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger) over 6 years ago

Marybeth~Got my attention...;)

Adrian~details, details, details...LOL

Stefan~You're not the only one.


Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago

Well, it could be a case of purposeful attention getting. I would bet on it. I think that Group-on was happily collecting all the emails from folks who thought they had a gotcha moment. 

In the Real Estate field, clients want their agents to be accurate and this type of purposeful error may be just the thing that would keep a buyer or seller from working with you. 

Posted by Barry Kessler, Barry Kessler (Pinnacle Estate Properties, Inc.) over 6 years ago

I agree, Barry.  I don't think we can subscribe to the "any publicity is good publicity" in our business.

Posted by Joy Baker, So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist (RE/MAX Insight) over 6 years ago