Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Things we say.

Sometimes as I walk half-a-step too fast through life, I wonder if I am an alien life-form dropped on this planet, in this city, in the advertising industry as retribution for a raft of terrible misdeeds I did in a previous life.

So much of what I see and hear makes zero sense to me. The way English is misused today, listening or reading makes me feel like I am walking near the dumpster of a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in 90-degree heat with 90-percent humidity. Just about everything turns my stomach.

I guess a lot of this is due to laziness or a generally slovenly use of language. For instance this headline from last week's Forbes magazine. 

What gets me with the above is the use of the word "Could." Has the editor or writer ever been in an ad agency? Dissent among the ranks is rife. Maybe no one cared enough to check--or to blue-pencil the headline into:

"Dissent in Ogilvy Ranks as Leadership Turmoil Continues." 

At least my version makes an assertion, and the only word I could object to would be leadership since there is none.

I did a quick scan of LinkedIn, and I find almost every ad or message indecipherable.

This may be the worst. Or even the worstest. 

When I started at Ogilvy there was a lineage to uphold. You wrote with precision because David was watching. You avoided pretentious language and bushwa. You were standing on the shoulders of giants. Now you're standing in a ditch, your eyes barely at the surface.

1. You've been growing brands? No, you help brands grow.

2. Why brands and businesses? Can't you choose one?

3. What is borderless creativity? How does it compare to bordered creativity?

4. Operating, innovating, creating and nauseating at the intersection of talent and capabilities. What about ambition, determination, effort? I think your intersection should be a cloverleaf or a roundabout.

5. If you have experts in Growth and Innovation why are you retrograde and shrinking?

6. You work fluidly? Is there an agency swimming pool?

Then there are these.  The following words confuse me or dull my brain.

evidence-based (as opposed to guessing.)

quality at scale (there's no quality when you're small?)

real-time data (dissimilar from fake-time data.)

connected devices (that rules out my nose-hair trimmer.)

powerful insights (I charged my insights overnight.)

active learning (preferable to active puking)

and so it goes.

This is just as dreadful. From the awful stock photo to the horrible use of initial caps to the bludgeoning of the meaning of language. I have no idea what they do or what they sell.

This is my favorite.

Thanking employees via salted snacks.


"Yeah, I haven't had a raise in three years but pretzels 20% off."

I've been doing this advertising thing for a long time now. Each one of the messages above probably took four-to-six weeks to get through the meandering digestive sphincter of a dozen different departments.

There are a lot of reasons the business has decayed. 

Not thinking is one.

Over-thinking is another.

Just not giving a shit about the product you make is the most egregious.

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