PR put Groupola in a hole, PR tries to dig Groupola back out

19 July 2010

Bitterwallet - Groupola logoNot too long ago, Groupola fired up their PR machine and fed it a deal that nobody could refuse. News of Groupola's £99 iPhone 4 offer appeared everywhere - but it didn't go according to plan. When their generous offer went live, the site crashed. Thousands of new users had to sign up to Groupola to access the offer, but found they couldn't.

The masses rebelled on Groupola's Facebook site, and Groupola deleted most of their criticisms. Bitterwallet discovered staff from Markco Media, owners of Groupola, were posting on Facebook but claiming to be customers and supporting Groupola. The PR company put forward "a number of people happy to talk to the media" to reinforce the point that 200 iPhone 4 handsets were sold. Only one has so far been interviewed, and the PR company wouldn't let Bitterwallet interview any of the others.

We asked anyone to come forward who had been successful; only one person did - the person already interviewed by the media. We found just three other people claiming to have bought the handset for £99, but there were unanswered questions about their conduct on Facebook.

It's fair to say that as PR goes, it was a bit of a mess, and we weren't the only ones who thought so. So what do you do when one PR campaign fails? You create another one!

Bitterwallet - another Groupola PR campaign

The study was released on Tuesday last week, but the media didn't bite - a quick search of Google News suggests it wasn't picked up by any of the papers.

So what do you do when one PR campaign fails? Yes, that's right!

Bitterwallet - Groupola PR that works

This time the press release, released just two days after the previous one, reinforced the national stereotype of Essex girls as cheap sluts - the sort of stuff the tabloids love. It was picked up by The Sun, The Star and The Express.

Groupola are seemingly in a perpetual state of commissioning or conducting surveys - it's a wonder they've got time to run a business. If one falls flat, another one pops up for the PR agency to fling at the media. Discount sites can only be good news for consumers, but they need to be powered to a degree by word-of-mouth to provide not only awareness, but credibility. Judging by their efforts at social media and machine-gun approach to PR, Groupola don't seem keen to wait for that to occur naturally. That, or they're desperately over-compensating for the bad press created by the iPhone 4 deal.

With original group-buying site Groupon buying up CityDeal in May to take on Europe, expect to see even more blatant efforts by Groupola to grab you by the collar and force-feed you bargains.



  • J
    Surely it's not true... "reveals that cities in the north of the country buy the majority of their shopping online. "
  • stu
    J, agreed that would mean 50% of purchases across half of the country across all age groups were online... hmmmm
  • PokeHerPete
    Is Amy Woodwhore from Essex?
  • Fatlad
    what is 'bed press'?
  • tom
    I just conducted a survey on 4,678 people stating Grouplola are a group of crooks. Oh and to get me in the papers 98% of all immigrants get 110% of all government benefit payments, the ohter 2% get use of Buckingham Palace.
  • Richard
    Hey, back off Essex, we're cool :-)
  • dunfyboy
    Cool, but slutty. You can't argue with the facts. Can't see any mention of Diana though. Why did the Expess pick up on this?
  • adam b.
    Given that HUKD and Quidco are one and the same, you readers might have been more interested to know what you think about MSE's news story that affiliate network DMG has ceased trading - "It's reported cashback website Quidco has said it will not be paying out to anyone who has made a recent purchase from one of the affected retailers who used the DGM network if it hasn't received the cashback to pass on." That's an awful lot of wrong decisions to purchase.
  • Me
    Crapola would be a more suitable name for this dodgy outfit.
  • Brad
    At least they have been honest and not tried to bullshit it, something Groupola cant hold the moral high ground on.
  • Google :.
    [...] get involved, be aware that deals may not be the cast-iron bargain they’re made out to be, as shenanigans and chicanery have been spotted in the [...]

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