A Lesson in Going Viral: #rejectedgroupons

In Be Your Own Best Publicist, we spend an entire chapter talking about how social media and the Internet have changed communication forever and how vital it is to be aware of how quickly something can spread online — for good or bad. As Mark Twain once said (somewhat prophetically given this digital age), “A lie can travel around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Think about all those rumors of various celebrities’ premature death (Jon Bon Jovi, Jeff Goldblum, Chris Brown, Natalie Portman, George Clooney, Britney Spears, Harrison Ford and Rick Astley just being a few examples) and how they spread like wildfire on Twitter. On the flip side, consider how rapidly an amateur performer like Rebecca Black could catch on through YouTube with her hit song “Friday.”


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What Happens When Buzz-Building Backfires

It was a huge step for a company that had started less than three years ago and has grown into one of the most successful social shopping sites around: Groupon was launching its first-ever ad campaign on the most-watched television day of the year — Super Bowl Sunday.

Unfortunately, while designed to be comical, their commercials offended many and ultimately were pulled off the air less than a week later. The campaign, created by ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, aimed to build buzz. And it did — just not the kind they had wanted.

What happens when your attempt to create attention backfires and how should you deal with it? Whether you flubbed a major presentation (hello, Christina Aguilera!), got the green light for an expensive project that fell flat, or you made an off-color comment in a meeting, there are lessons to be learned from the Groupon situation that you can apply to your own career missteps:

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