Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

18 Signs Advertising Buzzwords Are Driving You Insane

London, UK
Laura Swinton on how adland jargon is slowly murdering the English language

The buzzword-ification of advertising is killing creativity. OK perhaps ‘killing’ is a teeny bit hyperbolic but at the very least it’s getting extremely annoying. It’s one thing to wade through festival schedules strewn with ‘co-creations’ and ‘innovations’ and ‘de-couplings’ but when every third utterance in every meeting, pitch and conversation is a buzzword you know that something has gone wrong. I get it, I really do. The industry is undergoing a trends arms race and we’re all desperate to appear hip and down with the millennials. It’s surprising (or perhaps, on second thoughts, it isn’t) that an industry founded on the craft of writing has become so indulging of clichés and waffle. Sure buzzwords can be handy shortcuts to describe complex concepts, but they’re also vague, flimsy and evasive. Albert Einstein will back me up on this: “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

I’ve been at some seminars when I swear the English language has collapsed completely. It’s like living through an HBO re-imagining of The Jabberwocky. Buzzwords are driving us all a bit crazy – and here’s how to spot the signs:

1. You’re so over the word ‘Millennials’… because you’ve realised the definition only stretches so far. And it doesn't stretch far enough to include you.

2. You’ve raised an eyebrow or two at ‘Native Advertising’.

"Wait, so how is that not just advertorial? Because there’s a quiz?"

3. You’ve been secretly cheering on Edward Snowden in the hope that the phrase ‘Big Data’ will disappear forever.

4. The word ‘Efficiency’ brings on a panic attack… and a mass raid of the stationary cupboard. Just in case.

5. Thought Leadership… what’s wrong with ‘having an opinion’?

Seriously though. How does one go about becoming a thought leader? Do you call the cybermen or the cylons?

6. You’re never quite sure whether to laugh when people use ‘synergy’.

7. You’ve banned the phrase ‘Two-way conversation’ in your presence. But no one gets why.

8. You can spend up to three hours at a time visiting just to find an alternative to ‘innovation’. And then you go right ahead and use 'innovation' anyway.

9. You’re pretty sure ‘multi-platform experiences’ have something to do with Super Mario.

10. You keep misreading ‘content’ as ‘content’.

11. You’ve found the perfect cure for insomnia - counting buzzwords is the new counting sheep.

12. You remember when curators weren’t 13-year-olds with a Tumblr account.

13. … and you dream about the days when the word co-creation didn’t exist.

And the less said about 'co-collaboration' the better.

14. The word ‘viewability’ means absolutely nothing to you… but it does remind you that you’re probably due an eye test.

15. You cringe every time you hear – or say – ‘viral’ (while harbouring a secret hope that one day it might be cool again. It won’t.)

16. The word 'engagement' makes you cry. And it has nothing to do with your ex.

17. The longer you spend around advertising people the more you suspect that words, their meanings and reality are all drifting apart and floating off in three entirely different directions.

18. … and despite all that when it’s your turn to take the spotlight, you talk entirely in buzzwords.

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