Groupon Humor Taboos

Groupon’s public guide to editorial voice includes a discussion of humor taboos. Learn what’s a problem not because it’s offensive but simply because it’s not funny. Learn which topics are “over-used, unfunny humor crutches” (hint: includes ligers). Includes bonus religious double-standard:

Steer clear of jokes that could offend religious people. Even if it seems harmless and playful, there are some religious people who will freak out. It’s not worth the headache.

Example of great teeth whitening joke that got us lots of angry letters & just wasn’t worth it: “whiten by an average of eight shades, equivalent to being punched by God twice.”

Roman mythology is an innocuous substitute: “whiten by an average of eight shades, equivalent to being punched by Zeus twice.”

The voluminous list is intended to help Groupon writers avoid “easily avoidable problems for us with vendors & customers.” The rest of the document fills out an interesting little crash course in issues of commercial writing.

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