Monday, October 29, 2007

Everything's a 'mash-up.' And so can you.

Two of today's most annoying cliches are in the title above. Ad-Something just did a "Creative Mash-Up" conference. What the heck is that? A mash-up sounds like something that happens on the L.I.E. on Sunday night driving back to the city. And 'And so can you,' made famous, or notorious via the title of Colbert's new book and made vomitous by dozens of writers who seem to be using it in every third headline, especially the writers in the NYTimes, where I saw two permutations of such in the past couple of days.

For those hordes of new readers who are new to Ad Aged or in case you've forgotten, here is the link to Orwell's important essay "Politics and the English Language." It can teach you more about advertising, communication and, yes, politics than anything else you're likely to read. So read it.

If you're way too busy to bother with one of the great minds of the 20th Century (George Orwell, not George Tannenbaum) here's a pertinent excerpt:
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


Unknown said...

it's totally spot on. i fgure most of my crapp writing is due to vague and wooly thoughts no thought at all.

Unknown said...

Being a junior-level account person in a coveted Chicago agency, it is becoming very easy to get sucked into meaningless corporate-speak. The first few months, I was pretty lost when the client/account director would begin I've realized that they usually use silly industry catch phrases out of pure habit. Honestly, I wish I could preserve my clueless manner if only to keep real perspective of the average consumer.