This Picture Just Kills Me

Every morning I get an email from Groupon, announcing its latest deals. Inevitably, I find myself wondering how they select the images that will go along with the offer. Sometimes, it’s clearly an image of the restaurant or business being advertised. Often, though, it’s very obviously a stock photo. It’s those instances that really make me wonder–does Groupon have a photo editor (or several) who select these pictures? Or are companies asked to supply images when they liaise with Groupon? These questions keep me up at night, and one of the reasons they do is that sometimes the pictures are just whack-a-doo.

Like this one, for a $20-for-20-sessions-of-yoga at a place that sounds sort of…well…weird:

Image via Groupon

Seriously, this picture just kills me. And if it was chosen by the people at the yoga studio, then I’d consider this a warning sign: Don’t go! Why not? Well, first of all, no self-respecting yoga teacher is going to let students get away with form like that. Your shoulders should be back and down, away from your ears; your chest should be radiating forward; you don’t need to be looking up to the point where your neck is wrenched back, like that woman toward the back is doing. Second, since when do people wear socks and shoes in yoga? Since never, that’s when. Third, what’s going on with those mats? Not only are they thicker than any yoga mat (even the thick ones) I’ve ever seen, they’re also super short. Of course, that makes sense, because they’re not yoga mats. Finally, why are these people all made up like they’re going out to dinner after their yoga class? I know some people wear jewelry while they exercise, but wearing a watch and having my hair hanging all over my face while I’m trying to do down dog would drive me insane.

Is it silly of me to analyze a picture like this? Yes. But it’s weird. There must be literally hundreds of stock images of people doing yoga with proper form, with proper equipment; images that would make the service being offered look legitimate and maybe even enticing. Instead this just makes me want to laugh. And relax my shoulders, because wow, my neck and shoulders hurt just looking at those women.

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    1. Oh gosh! I’d heard that Dahn Yoga was sort of wacky and weird (via Jill, actually). I guess in a way that explains how inexplicable a deal it is ($20 for $350? How is that even possible?), the weird fact that you can only take five classes at one location before having to go somewhere else, and the fact that they also give you weird informational pamphlets and supplements or whatever it says in the description. Those things just struck me as really off. As off as the picture.

  1. It is a weird picture… nothing about it seems “right” for yoga.

    I’m pretty sure that businesses that contract with Groupon don’t provide photos or copy. I think they have to give some key points of their business, then Groupon writes it up and finds a stock image. Because the write-ups are usually bizarre too.

  2. I love the way Groupon is written. I’m a writer so I analyze things like that, like you analyzed the pic. I just love the writing style they use and how well it markets the sale more than a traditional marketing style of writing (which my own personal writing style sometimes mimics).

    Yeah, that is a weird picture for all the reasons you stated. I worked in the university PR while in college and one of the things we did was pictures for university publications. It amazed me at some of the pictures they chose to use and how they DID NOT represent our campus (pics had to be approved by the university president). Our college was probably 50% minority and we used pics where everyone was white, pictures on publications for freshmen had students in upperclassman apartments, etc.

    It really shows how little people know about visual marketing with things like the pictures my university used and this picture. But then I guess they figure if you buy yoga classes on Groupon it’s probably not that big of a deal bc they’re usually targeting newbies anyway…. even though anyone who’s ever done yoga will see this pic just like you did!

    1. That’s really strange about your school using pictures that didn’t fit its image at all! I’ve also heard stories of campuses where they intentionally pull students who don’t even know each other together in order to create images that represent the diversity of the school–it’s weird though, the picture is still totally fake and posed. But it must have been really interesting to have the first-hand experience of seeing the images get selected, knowing how misrepresentative they were.

      It’s hard to figure out what they were thinking using that picture, especially because their copy is really carefully written! There’s such a disconnect between the attention they put into that and the attention they put into finding this pic.

      1. Our pictures were staged like that, but being a small campus, everyone kinda knew each other (at least the involved kids who were picked for photo shoots). Still, it wasn’t a genuine group of friends in the picture hanging out or playing games- it was posed.

        I know Groupon writes their own copy, but they most likely use stock images. My company uses a lot of stock images, but ours go through a pretty rigorous review as well (not like the text, but with our review, this image wouldn’t have been chosen because at least 3 people look at our stuff before it ever goes out).

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