Are Groupon Philippines copywriters overdoing the irony?


Have you ever read the detailed text beneath the general descriptions of those daily deal emails you get from Groupon Philippines (also known as Beeconomics Philippines)? Probably not – not too many people apparently do. But I’m a freak, I read everything.

I guess it’s supposed to be humorous. But the writers pour the irony a little too thick and some of the copy can be borderline offensive.

This is what you get. Take the description that accompanies the 70% offer for American Idol tour tickets:

Before American Idol’s conception in 2002, the number one show in the USA was American Idle; a show where viewers could watch overweight and lazy individuals drinking beer and belching out while watching television.

Here’s the description that accompanies the offer for 58% off on Varicose Vein removal:

In one of Mother Nature’s greatest practical jokes, she made inner beauty twice as powerful as outer beauty, and then concealed it behind the sternum, where only thoracic surgeons could appreciate it. Cultivate your exterior appeal instead with today’s Groupon…

The Groupon tone of writing turns out to be a global standard, according to this piece in Time:

How Humour Sells Silly Deals No One Needs

Ok, so funny sells. But really, “American Idle, a show where viewers could watch overweight and lazy individuals drinking beer and belching out…” ?

The Time article also quotes this offer for dental work:

“The Tooth Fairy is a burglarizing fetishist specializing in black-market ivory trade, and she must be stopped. Today’s Groupon helps keep teeth in mouths and out of the hands of maniacal, winged phantasms.”

I tried a writing exercise adopting the Groupon style of copywriting to see if it would be enticing enough to get people to buy the offer. Say for an imaginary offer of 50% off on a steak dinner. The jury’s still out:

Here’s what I came up with:

Back in the stone age when mastodons ruled the earth, Caveman Og was tasked by his mate Sheena to bring home the bacon. Unfortunately in those days, boars had yet to be domesticated, and supermarket freezers hadn’t been invented. For that matter, supermarkets hadn’t been invented yet. This meant that stopping by the supermarket on the way to pick up a pack of bacon was out of the question. Og provided Sheena a nice slab of mastodon rib eye instead, and thus started the practice of eating steak. Groupon now gives you the chance to release your inner Og with this offer…

It gets more and more tedious after this, but you get the drift.

4 thoughts on “Are Groupon Philippines copywriters overdoing the irony?

  1. Jim, where can we buy this steak? We are so impressed we prepared a desk for you at our office so you can be one of our writers.

    Thank you so much for noticing! We take great pride in our write-ups, as noted by Time and The New York Times. We certainly don’t want to offend, so we are sorry if we unintentionally did that. The guilty writer has been banished to the lair of the Groupon Cat. Hence the job offer in the paragraph above.

  2. I am a Filipina who happens to be a copywriter for Groupon in the Middle East. The Groupon style I was trained in puts great emphasis on humour, but we are never offensive. We assume the intelligence of the reader, and to offend them with the “eewwww” factor or poorly-placed irony is insulting their intelligence.

  3. i agree. there are times that the posts are downright silly. so sorry about that.

    example: Like a shiny monkey wrench, spa treatments repair anatomical parts while incapacitating jealous, over-inquisitive dinner guests with awe or bodily harm

    first of all waht is a monkey wrench? second, can you guess what this post is about when you read it for the first time?

    surely not. i think that the objective is to get the point across. dont get me wrong, i have seen a few posts that are genuinely hilarious and cute. but most are really so weird, im sorry. maybe this style has been recognized by Time&the New York Times but that could be because these are written by Native English writers. For the Philippines version, it just doesn’t work.i get confused. why is there a monkey wrench in a post about a spa? when i read a post from groupon (which i am proudly subscribed to), i skip the write up and go straight to the details, which is what i need. If you need a sample of a good write up, go to deal grocer. i am not a writer, i am an employee in the medical field so i am not siding with them with bias.

    i really think that you should check how the write ups are composed. but then again, i am just one subscriber.

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