Without goals, no one would unicycle the Appalachian Trail

Groupon. Some say their writing is the secret to their success. Others think it’s the worst in the world.

What’s good?

It’s imaginative. They call fingers ‘cheek slappers’, ‘clapping utensils’, ‘shake traps’ and ‘high-five dispensers’, amongst other things.

The writing guidelines suggest people use fake proverbs, mixed metaphors, illogical comparisons and lists, and ‘highly technical language when it's least called for to overcomplicate things’.

They recognise the power of the written word. And (unlike in many companies) the writers rule.

And bits of their writing tickle me. Like this deal for a Moroccan restaurant.

‘Morocco is famed for Casablanca, a city named after the Humphrey Bogart film, and couscous, a reduction made from couscouscous.’

What’s not so good?

They’re inconsistent. My ‘welcome to Groupon’ email was somewhat lacklustre.


You have registered for the Groupon newsletter for London with the following email address: nottellingmyrealaddress@obviously

Congratulations! From now on you’ll hear about new deals as they arrive and will be able to take advantage of London for a whole lot less!

Your Groupon team.’

And often it’s just plain weird. Like this offer for thread vein treatment:

‘Bread brain agreement, not to be confused with thread vein treatment, is the tentative approval of certain undesirable elements of the mind's dough, including rye wit and kneady behaviour. Get under the crust of unwanted extras with today's Groupon.’

But does it really matter? The writing might be bizarre at times. And at times it might make you mad. But gosh darn it if they’re not just giving something new a whirl.

I say, why bloody not. And they’ve just been valued at $30bn. So they must be doing something right.

*From Groupon’s style guide. It’s their example of writing about hypothetical worlds/outcomes.

0 min read, posted in Tone of voice, by Admin, on 8 Jun 2011