What Groupon Can Learn from Itself

A week ago, Patrick Rhone posted about the following copy he found in a Groupon offer he received:

“Sweet teeth turn into butter with the soft crunch of the chocolate croissant ($2.95), and macaroons ($2.25 each) melt the taste buds of sweet seekers without the inclusion of refined sweeteners—whose costly education did not increase their manners.”

Curious, I checked my email and found this deal from my own area for Leona’s Pizzeria:

“Tomato paste is the glue that holds many Italian dishes together, just as caulk is the glue that holds many construction workers’ children’s dioramas together. Enjoy edible adhesives with today’s Groupon.”

Yummy! How pissed off would you be if you owned Leona’s?

I have a hard time believing rogue writers across state lines are scheming to write the worst copy imaginable for the sake of my amusement. So, I have to come to the conclusion that Groupon probably just doesn’t care.

Of course, Groupon has an entirely different view of their writing, as stated in this Groupon job listing:

“Our editors ensure that all of the writing on our site is engaging, compelling, and most importantly, written in our voice.”

That “voice” is set by the administration of Groupon. That administration includes Jason Fried of 37Signals, perhaps the most well-known proponent of great copywriting on the web. Fried recently stepped down from the Groupon Board of Directors and now serves on the Advisory Board. Perhaps it’s about time he advises Groupon on why good writing is so important, like he did in his May 2010 article for Inc. Magazine titled, “Why Is Business Writing So Awful?”:

“Words are treated as filler — ‘stuff’ that takes up space on a page. Words expand to occupy blank space in a business much as spray foam insulation fills up cracks in your house. Harsh? Maybe. True? Read around a bit, and I think you’ll agree.”

I agree.