Groupon is trolling us by ‘forgetting’ Alexander Hamilton was never president

Behold: Groupon's attempt at a "gotcha!" 


Molly McHugh


Published Feb 16, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 6:09 pm CDT

In all the Valentine’s Day (read: House of Cards) excitement, you may have forgotten this week’s other holiday: President’s Day. But don’t worry, Groupon didn’t forget!

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In fact, Groupon is using the momentous occasion to honor former President Alexander Hamilton. Per Groupon’s press release:

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Starting tomorrow, Groupon will be kicking off Presidents Day weekend by giving customers 10 dollars off 40 dollars when they purchase a deal for any 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.

Hmm? What’s that you say? Alexander Hamilton wasn’t ever president of the United States!? Correct you are, Sherlock. Though a founding father, Hamilton never served as the commander in chief. 

The backlash to Groupon’s “mistake” has been swift. A parody account, @PrezHamilton, has already popped up, and Groupon’s been indulging in some fun back-and-forth with the account and others on Twitter.

#FF the US President who redefined the presidency. RT @PrezHamilton Taft wasn’t the only President to get stuck in a bathtub. #tbt

— Groupon (@Groupon) February 14, 2014

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From @PrezHamilton & Groupon, have a simultaneously happy Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day.

— Groupon (@Groupon) February 14, 2014

Of course the hilarious history mix-up is probably definitely (see update below) too good to be true. Yes, it would be very, very funny if a major business failed to notice that Alexander Hamilton was never a president. Unfortunately the campaign is likely not a Groupon marketing gaffe, it’s just the latest in a long line of orchestrated oopsies that brands purposefully put out there to capture our attention. “Look! Look at our ridiculousness! We are definitely not on top of things, and hooo-boy, did we mess up!”

Obviously we’re all part of the problem. But thankfully, much of Twitter is already calling Groupon on their antics.

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Gee whiz, it’s almost as if @Groupon did something ridiculous to get everyone online talking about them.

— Chris Armstrong (@carmstrong07) February 14, 2014

It was a joke, guys.. RT @USATODAYmoney: Groupon mistakes Hamilton as a U.S. president

— Seth Fiegerman (@sfiegerman) February 16, 2014

Nicely calibrated act of trolling by Groupon here – a PR stunt disguised as mistake. Actually pretty clever.

— Tom Gara (@tomgara) February 14, 2014

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And that’s it for today’s edition of “obnoxious things brands do on the Internet.” Tune in for another segment in approximately 20 minutes. 

Update: In response to an email asking if this was an honest mistake or an orchestrated mix-up, I recieved the following response: 



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H/T JimRomenesko | Photo via Gamma Man/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Feb 16, 2014, 7:44 pm CST