Friday, April 20, 2018

We're the Gobbledegook people.™

"Some men are born mediocre,
some men achieve mediocrity,
and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."
Joseph Heller (on Major Major) in “Catch-22.”

One of the things that depresses me about the world today and advertising in particular is that I no longer know what anyone does.

I’ve seen this in a job listing:

“Verbal Design is the practice of conceiving and crafting language to reflect and drive a connected brand experience.”

Oh, ok.

I’ve seen an agency describe itself like this:

“We architect, design and deliver iconic experiences, services and products that improve people’s lives…We deliver a cohesive blueprint across customer connection points that will satisfy audience needs and surpass business goals.”

Another writes:

“We provide strategic creative and digital ideas helping clients to Lead the Change and to succeed in their own marketing transformation.”

Yet another:

We’re an innovation platform that lowers the risk of innovation for industry leaders and helps emerging companies grow and scale their businesses. We help the C-Suite innovate and outpace disruption by designing the business models, services, and brands needed to win. We create campaigns from the ground up that are designed to be shared and resonate in our connected culture.”

I’m trying to imagine how a baseball second-baseman would be described in similarly tortured prose.

“We create vertical, horizontal and lateral in-field experiences that circumvent the serial tabulation of competitive markers of success by designing mid-field business models that help our organization succeed and resonate in our connected culture.”


We have good range and prevent the other guys from scoring. This improves attendance and makes fans happy.

As our self-definitions have become more and more incomprehensible, our business—as a whole— has floundered more and more. 

We don’t know what we do or make or why we exist anymore. It doesn’t help that the people who run the behemoth companies that own all the agencies have never practiced the trade their businesses are in.

Years ago, I toiled at one of the great agencies of all-time, Ally & Gargano. Their mission statement is still the best I’ve ever read. By far.

“We impart useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way.”

That’s my job.

That should be all our jobs.

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