Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Deal Chicken | Promotions: big, small -- and 'real'

As more sites roll out local versions of Gannett's Deal Chicken, newspapers are taking different approaches to promoting the online coupon service on their homepages.

The Arizona Republic, which developed the original version of the service, is hitting readers over the head with this banner treatment:

The Cincinnati Enquirer has added a link near the top of its homepage, with an illustration for extra punch:

And The Indianapolis Star also features a link in the same position, but without any graphic:

Video: 'Real chickens on Deal Chicken'
Meanwhile, for reasons I don't immediately understand, a YouTube user is featuring this video promoting Deal Chicken's Washington, D.C., launch on behalf of WUSA-TV in an, uh, creative way.

How is your site promoting Deal Chicken? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. I am so sick of seeing this damn chicken. Every inch of filler has an ad for this thing. Forget about promoting the successful products we have - let's promote this chicken that is bringing our site zero dollars.

    Oh and after Weeks of promotion we still don't have enough email addresses to let the chicken out of the coop. That speaks volumes about our readers interest in this product. The number needed is quite low too so that is even more discouraging.

  2. Gah, that Deal Chicken intrusion on the AZ Republic site makes it very difficult for anyone to take the website seriously. It's like stumbling onto a Yo Gabba Gabba page or something.

  3. Be wary of emails from ex-coworkers (that are still working at that company) sending spam as a disguise to collect email addys. You've all seen the type.... "funny jokes", "helpful hints" "religious" and then on the very last line it asks you to forward the spam to all your friends and make sure you include them (the sender) as well.... as a sign of true friendship, no less! What they are doing is collecting email addys to do only God knows what, with them! Yepper, some people think that they are slick and that others aren't ON to them!

  4. @8:30 a.m.: LMAO. Thanks for the warning. We have an employee contest at my site to collect email addresses. Our baseline is 15,000 to launch, and of course we need the deals from local merchants. I'm NOT participating in the contest. That behavior falls into the category of cutting off your nose to spite your face, but that's the kind of pettiness Gannett generates.
    I suspect individual sites are having to share some of the cost of launching this (not just in new ad hires, but paying for the promotional materials, etc.). I heard there's a chicken suit sites can rent for $200 so Chickie can appear live at promotional events. Total clucker f***.

  5. Don't forget the Chicken is live in Detroit now too... and both and are making sure online readers don't miss it through the use of giant banner ads.

  6. Desperate chicken! Gannett is where innovation means coping. Not even in a fast way. That chicken is probably the 1000th Groupon clone. Good luck GCI with yet another late, bad, and sad idea clone.

  7. Indy is offering iPad, sports tickets, etc. to employees who flame their "peeps" on FB, Twitter, and email.

  8. You don't have to love the chicken but Gannett needs to be in the deal business. Posters here are mostly haters, I get that. But if you want less posts about layoffs, maybe you can get behind some of these new ideas. Late to the game? Maybe. But we have to be in the game.
    We got there at the same time as Google. Good luck to the chicken and to my fellow workers who are making it happen. I like my job. If this brings in revenue at my paper, like it has in Arizona, I'm all for it.

  9. Love the posters who despise the Chicken and refuse to help collect email addresses. SUre continue to work for the company, don['t help and then complain about layoffs because the company isn't making money. Love that Jim's headline says AZ Republic is hitting readers over the head. Yep why on earth would a company want to promote a new product. Bad Gannett, bad!

  10. 12:31, If I were to analyze this, the real problem is that the employees are angry that they're being asked to promote this "deal" on their personal facebook pages, etc. Not only that, they probably view the layoffs happening despite the fact there is this "deal" in the works that hasn't been overly successful, so why bother? And then there is always those raises that the top execs at corporate got while everyone else is being furloughed once, twice and in a lot of cases, three times. Makes for a bad environment all the way around. Why would employees want to help raise money for a company that puts every penny saved into the pockets of the top brass? And no, I don't work for Gannett, it's just a blog follower's observation.

  11. 12:13 p.m. says, we got there the same time as Google. OK. WTF?! What do you think the name recognition of Google versus Gannett is? People in my hometown still can't pronounce Gannett correctly, and when they say the name, it's with derision since that's the entity they see as ruining the local newspaper they used to subscribe to.

  12. 12:31, we have a CMO who should be promoting deal chicken rather than writing an in house travelog. We also have a corp flak who should be getting the work out instead of treading into non descript branding campaigns. Let the journos do their jobs of gathering news.

  13. My take to the whole resistance of Deal Chicken is this:

    Every initiative that corporate comes up with to generate revenue ultimately fails because everything takes so long to initiate and the planning seems to be so poor. Examples: Content one, client solutions, world class sales rally, etc.

    I don't think Deal Chicken is a bad idea. It's just that we're pretty late in the game and it's taking awhile for sites to meet the criteria to launch Deal Chicken.

  14. Washington's WUSA off to a great start with their first Deal Chicken offer. It was a soft launch to make sure everything worked and they did a great job. Kudos DC team for a job welldone. You can delete the post now Jimbo because heaven forbid employees would compliment one another.

  15. It's not the Deal Chicken offer that's the issue - it's the "trickery" used by employees that are using deceptive spam to obtain leggit email addys and/or who flame their "peeps" on FB and Twitter (trying to make the 15,000 email address goal) that's the turn off! ROFLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  16. 5:45 You are quite right about WUSA in Washington, the flagship TV station of the chain. Looks like they are going to roll in about $1,000 for this deal, which involves spending $10 to watch Fiddler on the Roof by sitting on the grass at Wolf Trap Farm. Little problem with that, however, because as you know Washington has huge thunderstorms in the afternoons, and the grass gets wet. Then there is Washington's notorious summer heat and humidity that someone visiting from the south noted this week. Of course, that $1000 in new income is going to be needed to pay salaries and overhead for WUSA, and just curious, but what happens when USA Today launches its Deal Chicken in competition so it can raise big bucks, too. When USA Today weighs in, there's certain to be a chicken in the pot of every newspaper in this company.

  17. ... was wondering when someone was going to use the
    "Chicken in every Pot" line or close to it!

    At the rate it's going, one should change it to:
    "A Chicken in every Pot" for the TURKEYS On line!


  18. I'll tell you why I won't support the Deal Chicken initiative. Others have cited the unseemliness of spamming your friends, but that's only part of it. Here's the DEAL: G A N N E T T has screwed me, my career and the lives of my colleagues. So, you know what? I just don't care anymore. I don't care anymore if the company goes down, because I already know that it is going down. There is nothing now that will stop it. And you may accuse me of biting the hand that feeds me. You know what? That hand bit me a long time back and has been slowly nibbling away ever since. The company has proven that it cares nothing about its employees. So now, you reap what you sow. The employees care nothing for the company.

    I'm currently on a job search -- as are many of my current (and laid-off!) colleagues. As soon as the right opportunity comes along, I'm gone. And it can't be soon enough.

  19. Hey 9:17 - Wow, your post sounds like you just read my mind.

  20. @ 9:49 I have a feeling that a lot of people could say the same. (9:17)

  21. Looking at this Deal Chicken thing as an outsider, it seems just plain dumb. Plus, aren't there a bunch of other things just like this? Like Groupon, etc.?

    It's a dumb name. The graphics are juvenile & cartoonish. And it's late to the dance.

    When I first saw people writing about it, I thought it was a joke. Honest.

    Plus, all the companies & retailers who advertise on these goofy sites are admitting that their products & services are generally overpriced. See, if somebody can get something for a highly discounted price, they ain't coming back 'til they get another highly discounted price. It definitely does not build brands.

    The whole idea is based upon fear-based economically-challenged sphincters snapping shut.

    That's my uninvited two cents (discounted, via Deal Chicken, from four cents).


  22. I wonder how long it will be until Dubow is chokin' the (deal) chicken?

  23. Mr. Optimistic:
    I hate layoffs, too, and am willing to give the Chicken a shot. Still, after 15 yrs of watching GCI roll out lots of decent ideas that flame out in actual execution, I remain skeptical. The plan always sounds good in the boardroom. But never any bodies or any management follow through to carry it out.
    BTW, Deal Chicken is being advertised on St. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH site. I thought this was a Gannett Deal Chickin? .

  24. 9:17 based on your post I bet there are a lot of companies looking for emoyees who just don't give a rats ass. Make sure you tell them how much you hate your company during the interview. Then you too can brag how you found s better job, with a company that Really cares, for double the money. But remember don't give your name because the boogie man will get you!!!

  25. @ 11:16 Whatever.

    I'm sure there's a company out there that will actually appreciate my skills and allow me to use them and grow -- along with the company. Something that Gannett does not allow in its stifling and toxic environment. I gave them my all. I have nothing left. Moving on to a healthy environment. And, no, I will not tell prospective companies how much I hate Gannett. I'm smarter than that. A trait that Gannett does not appreciate.

  26. 9:17 pm, 8:24 here

    To clarify. I don't hate Gannett. And I didn't say that originally. The other poster put those words in my mouth. I'm simply done with the company. Hate would only suck my remaining energy. I am focusing my energy on the future. Something that our leaders have proven themselves incapable of.

  27. @11:16, I believe that any company hiring a Gannett employee who has ever read this Blog would automatically understand why the person interviewing before them is seeking a job and silently wondering to themself "what took you so long to get to this point."

  28. There are inherent conceptual problems with Groupon & Groupon clones like ours.

    1. Deal-site revenue is self-limiting, with only one deal per day per market.
    2. Each deal requires a lot of staffing to conceive, sell, write up in a cute way, administer and pay out.
    3. Compared to a continuing ad campaign, daily deals will be used by individual businesses much less frequently, since they involve slashing prices.
    4. Too many similar deal sites clamoring for users can turn into white-noise spam.
    5. Deal sites use relatively old-tech methods that early adopters already are abandoning.

    This is why Groupon is moving toward mobile deals that are location-based. Mobile users will see deals near them in real time, using GPS, and merchants will be able to create their own deals on the spot from their own mobile devices.

    That means vastly reduced overhead and many more deals per day per market.

    If Gannett had wanted to get in a fight that hasn't already been decided, with a much bigger potential upside, it would have designed a mobile-deal app and infrastructure -- instead of copying a business model that Groupon itself is looking to evolve away from.

  29. In Phoenix, I see that copywriters refer to Deal Chicken as a "she."

    Also, the promotions at least ocassionally quote reviews of the merchants as they first appeared on Yelp. And Yelp has a deals service of its own.

  30. I like to sing deal chicken to the tune of "hot pockets" I'm in Phoenix and have been looking at that danged chicken for waaaay too long!


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