Groupon's Presidents Day Gaffe a Viral Hit

Credit: Paul J RIchards/AFP/Getty Images

Online discount site Groupon is grabbing headlines for incorrectly honoring Alexander Hamilton in a holiday promotion for Presidents Day.

On Friday, the publicly-traded company issued a press release providing details for a Presidents Day weekend discount of $10 off a $40 purchase from a local business.

"The $10 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," the release states.

When asked whether the press release was a publicity stunt, Erin Yeager, a spokeswoman for Groupon, wrote in an email, "A little fiscal responsibility is not something we joke about."

Groupon's marketing is known for its quirky sense of humor. On the day before Thanksgiving, the company distributed a press release last year announcing that they would remain open on Thanksgiving Day "because it's a website," while other brick-and-mortar stores battled with employees over holiday openings.

That release featured a fictitious spokesperson, "Barnicus Stapleton, Groupon's Director of Website Openness and author of the pamphlet, A Child's Guide to HTML Coding."

When Groupon founder Andrew Mason announced he was leaving the company as CEO one year ago, he joked that he wanted to spend more time with his family. "Just kidding - I was fired today," he wrote.

Just as the Groupon "cat" mascot shares prosaic narratives to describe various deals for restaurants and vibrators, the Presidents Day release also shares a quote from "President Hamilton":

"Beginning Saturday, Feb. 15 at 9 am CST, shoppers will be able to redeem this offer by using the promo code "10OFF40LOCAL", which isn't very catchy, but neither was President Hamilton's famous saying, 'nobody expects to trust his body overmuch after the age of fifty.'"