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Groupon's Big Weekend: Super Bowl & Barnes & Noble

Superbowl XLV Logo
Source: nfl.com
Superbowl XLV Logo

Groupon, the daily deals service, is making a big nation-wide play this weekend both on TV and in Americans e-mail inboxes.

Groupon has over 50 million users and turned down a $6 Billion offer from Google, so there's no question the company should be taken seriously. But by Monday pretty much every American will know what Google is and why they might want to use the local discount service.

Groupon snagged a last-minute Super Bowl ad, despite the fact that Fox sold out its game inventory back in October. But Groupon took advantage of some last minute shuffling and snapped up a final spot, likely paying a premium over Fox's $3 million asking price. But for a company trying to go mainstream, investing in an opportunity to snag over 100 million eyeballs is probably worth it.

Today Groupon sent out an offer for 50 percent off a $20 Barnes & Noble coupon. Groupon usually offers local deals at small merchants, but it's seen a huge jump in popularity from national deals in the past. A Gap Groupon offer put Groupon on the map this summer, and a Nordstrom Rack offer helped the company gain momentum ahead of the holiday shopping season this fall.

The decision to offer a big discount at a popular brand name comes as Groupon's smaller rival, Living Social, with about 20 million subscribers, makes gains on Groupon thanks to its own national discount offer from Amazon. Last month Living social offered a $20 Amazon gift card for 50% off, selling 1.3 million in a 24 hour period. Living Social also seems to have added three million subscribers in the process. (Here's my blog on Living Social's making gains on Groupon).

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.