Groupon copywriting: half-wit and misguided humour

Groupon has a distinctive way of communicating. Their copy is often discussed in favourable terms and the business seems to be doing well. However, I think their copy could be better.

Here’s an email I received recently:

Groupon emailMy main objection with Groupon’s attempts at humour is that (in addition to being lame) they get in the way of communication. A space that might have told me where the gym is, or what equipment they have, is given over to wordplay. A space that might have told me about the treatments offered by the spa is full of rambling nonsense.

Groupon’s copy is not copy, it’s a surreal dump of teenage wit. To find out the details on those deals you have to click the link and visit the website. But I shouldn’t have to – it could have all been there in my inbox.

Humour is welcome, but it should have some connection to the offer – and it should not take the place of informative content.


  1. I simply had to comment, as you have said exactly what I have been thinking for a while! I am a great fan or the daily deals sites, I even write as a guest blogger for one of them, but Groupon is the worst offender when it comes to nonsensical wordplay which confuses the reader. It is totally counter-productive and as a writer it infuriates me!

    Comment by Jaillan Yehia — October 14, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  2. I totally agree. I don’t get why people are raving about Groupon’s copy. It’s lame, pointless waffle that goes against everything good copy should be, in my opinion. I applaud them for finding a way to stand out, but the novelty will surely wear off eventually.

    Comment by Nick Jones — December 15, 2011 @ 11:15 am

  3. I quite agree. They obviously think they are being clever but any fool could write that rubbish without a moment’s thought. It distracts from the offer and I can’t help thinking the clients must feel uncomfortable about their products and services being joked about like this. As a professional copywriter with 18 years’ experience, I couldn’t lower myself to do something like this:

    Two (£8) or Four (£15) Mimosa Trees (Up to 58% Off)

    Mimosas, unlike samosas, do not enjoy being covered in pastry and dipped in mango chutney. Turn over a new leaf with today’s Groupon distributed by Van Meuwen.

    Comment by Sue Spenceley Burch — April 7, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  4. Apologies, but I have to completely disagree. Whilst plying a potential client with all the features of a gym has its benefits, when sifting through the waffle of one’s inbox, you can become a little trigger happy with the delete button.

    Why is clicking through to a deal the end of the world? In fact it’s the only way an email campaign is measurable. They can’t purchase these deals through the email either, so why not have them one step closer to the point of purchase?

    Whilst I agree with Nick that the novelty approach can wear off, the Groupon image has become synonymous with a satirical tone. I would venture further and suggest many people subscribe to the mailing list just for the copy alone.

    I doff my cap to Groupon for having the guts to take a stand against the usual drivel that infects my inbox! However, as a side note, your website is lovely and whilst disagreeing with you here, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts! 🙂

    Thanks Bradley.

    Comment by Bradley Godolphin — April 11, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  5. Hi Bradley – thanks for your comment! You make some excellent points and I can only agree that some people enjoy the Groupon approach to copywriting. And it’s true that they’ve taken a brave approach to try to stand out, which seems to work well for them. I think I could like their copy more if the humour was at least connected to the offer, but it usually seems to be random word-association and lunacy, which I find (in this instance) quite tedious.

    And funnily enough I just saw someone tweeting about their love of Groupon copy – so you’re certainly not alone! Groupon copy seems to divide opinion! 🙂

    Comment by Leif Kendall — April 11, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

Leave a comment

Let’s chat about your projectContact us