Groupon says calling Alexander Hamilton president a joke

Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:06 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Chicago coupon website Groupon said Monday its "President Alexander Hamilton" promotion was just a Presidents' Day stunt.

An unidentified company spokesman told the Chicago Tribune Groupon was just trying to shake things up a bit with its holiday promotion.

"Most Presidents' Day promotions make people fall asleep, so we wanted to do something different that was in line with our brand and sense of humor that got people talking and writing about Groupon," the spokesman wrote in an email to the newspaper.

USA Today reported Groupon spokesman Bill Roberts said the company was "just looking for a way to make Presidents' Day a little less boring."

"We started with the understanding that there's nothing people like more that pointing out that someone else is wrong," he said. "In fact, they like it so much they don't really stop to think about whether it was on purpose.

"But we were pleased some of the more savvy followers enjoyed the joke."

Still, the original release about "President Hamilton" remained on Groupon's website at 6 p.m. CST without any admission of its prank.

Groupon called its promotion "an overwhelming success" in the amount of attention it reaped the company, the Tribune said.

Groupon's prank started earlier Monday with a news release announcing a Presidents' Day weekend discount of $10 off $40 purchases in honor of the man on the $10 bill, Alexander Hamilton, who the website falsely declared "one of our greatest presidents," USA Today said.

"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," Groupon said on its press page.

Hamilton, who played a key role in authoring the Constitution, was the country's first secretary of the treasury and is known by historians as the founder of the U.S. financial system.

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