groupo the bargain birdThe holiday shopping season is about to start, and group-buying startup Groupon is hoping to get in on the action — not just by offering special deals, but by creating its own holiday, Grouponicus.

It’s another offbeat promotional campaign from a company that prides itself on smart, tongue-in-cheek writing. And compared to the last one I heard about, the Grouspawn dating site (where the company offered college scholarships to the children of couples who use a Groupon for their first date), Grouponicus sounds downright serious and practical.

Basically, it’s a separate site and email newsletter that highlight special holiday deals that Groupon users can purchase for their friends. Leveraging Groupon’s group-buying capabilities, Grouponicus offers things like classy meals, stylish clothing, and even helicopter rides for 50 percent off.

The Groupon site already allows users to buy deals for a friend, but Grouponicus is structured differently. Instead of showing one deal per day, it will offer three to four deals at a time, and each will be available for three to five days. The holiday deals will be available starting on November 22 in Groupon’s top 20 markets (including New York and San Francisco), and there will be 650 deals in all.

To flesh out its fake holiday, Groupon has also created a mascot — Groupo the Bargain Bird. Here’s a relevant excerpt from the site’s frequently asked questions:

Who is Groupo The Bargain Bird?
Groupo The Bargain Bird is the dapper, snake-tailed Grouponicus holiday mascot that kids love! On each night of Grouponicus, Groupo uses his nimble snake-tail to unlock your attic windows so that he may leave neatly stacked Groupons inside the ovens of his true believers –those who live by his Doctrine of Completion.

What is the Doctrine of Completion?
Groupo’s Doctrine of Completion is a set of tenets by which all Grouponicus celebrators adhere and swear. It is easy enough to find — just look in the heart of every singing child, the faces of every elderly couple baking snow pies, and in the concrete-filled vault 26 miles beneath the Library of Congress, where the original copy is still faintly glowing.

I want to welcome Groupo™ into my home, but my children are afraid of him.
Yes. Yes, they are.