Firstly, I apologise for the clumsy title. I was evading the filter, which rejected my original question for whatever reasons. I certainly think groupons are encouraging consumerism. They allow people to purchase items at a far lower cost through Internet bulk purchase (second-degree price discrimination for econ wonks), and the feeling that these goods are significantly cheaper, good value and offers that must be taken advantage of drives them to make irrational consumption decisions. I know people in real life who really to consume excessively because of group buying and I think it's slowly exceeding credit cards as the main culprit behind youth overconsumption.
Groupons do not promote anything in particular since they are designed to attract a specific audience. If that audience is not available nothing is bought or sold and nothing occurs; it is simply another "advertising platform" in many cases or a chance to liquidate failing products or to boost beginning products to achieve break-even.