The Incomprehensible Language Of Modern Marketing
Digital Marketers have rejiggered English. Why? Opaqueness. They need to make themselves seem like they know things you don’t (They don’t.). What better way to do that than to invent a sub-language, a language that takes existing words and uses them in new, befuddling “insidery” ways.
These newspeak-ers— compare to Communications “Guru” Stewart Pearson [above] from the hilarious British political satire show The Thick Of It — have a common favorite place to befuddle: the hallowed almighty Whiteboard. If you’ve ever had to sit through one of their whiteboard marketing sessions — talking and writing, in different colors, with lots of arrows and three-letter abbreviations, erasing, and more talking and writing — you like me maybe felt like you needed a moonshine bath afterwards.
What these digital “Inventionists” and brand “sherpas” (their words for themselves, according to their twitter bios) are attempting to pull off is to take as much creative control of advertising away from ad creatives as they can. Unfortunately, they’re succeeding. They’ve vilified the “A” word (Ad) and replaced it with the softer and more inclusive “Content” and “Story”. Anybody can “collaborate” on “content” and anybody can be a “storyteller” — consultants (“cagencies”), five-year-olds, even digital marketers, who now include “creative” and “storyteller” on their resumes and social media pages.
Ignore their self-aggrandizing buzzwords. All marketing people, including CMOs, really have only one title: “marketing associate”.
Marketing buzzwords are now a full-on worldwide plague. These waterboarders of language have forced a shit-ton of new bullshit terms into “the conversation”, like “branded content,” “authentic storytelling,” “online ephemerality,” “microinteractions” and worst of all “creative can come from anyone” (so can feces).
I believe today’s marketers are trying to destroy Creativity because they’re jealous of great advertising, something so simple that it can be looked at and loved on its own. And it works on its own — without their “expert” explanations, without their pointless bullet points.
It’s just sad to watch these relatively intelligent people write such completely thoughtless phrases during completely useless meetings, day-in and day-out…
So, to the Whiteboards! (Guaranteed: All words/phrases overheard/read on the Web or IRL. Also, all whiteboard copy here will be rendered in Comic Sans because it is all completely fucking ridiculous.)
Every Word Up There Is Meaningless. Copywriters understand that language is a precious thing; it is not to be fucked with. Modern marketers, however, openly mock language. They take innocent words and forcefully jam them into their Dystopian newspeak sessions.
For example: If a consumer “hearts” a Pizza Hut Tweet that asks “Who likes Pizza?” = an “engagement”. If a consumer answers the tweet with a thumbs up or smiley emoji = a “conversation”.
Marketers don’t “sell” to customers anymore. No, they have “immersive” “conversations” and “holistic” “journeys” and “360º” “engagements” and “authentic” “storytelling” with them.
Marketing underlings duly copy down these “formulas” and leave the meetings with exactly zero helpful information. Yet they parrot these idiotic phrases back and forth to each other like they’re woke in-the-know Harvard MBAs.
Let’s take a peak inside a high level “Content” meeting. Ever since marketers turned “advertising” into “content”, they’ve given themselves the authority to “create” content despite having zero experience and zero training with the creative process. And, as all copywriters and art directors know, making good ads is a learned process.
This meeting was led by a Digital Marketing “Specialist”. She wrote the CONTENT and ellipsis on the board before five other marketing people walked in. Their (self) titles: Brand “Imagineer”, Data “Disruptor”, “Storyteller”, Content “Creator”, and Marketing Assistant (note taker).
The Specialist asked the group to just shout out their answers to “what should Content be?” You see the results. The Storyteller actually shouted, very loudly, “Immersive storytelling gets customers storyliving!!!”, evoking clapping from the group even though none of them knew what the fuck the exclamation meant — because it is meaningless.
So you see? Marketers have desperately created this big rotting word salad to justify their existence. If you’re an ad creative, please don’t adopt any of their bullshit phrases (even “content”). Content, Activations, Stories, Experiences, Tweets — they’re all ads. Just. Fucking. Ads.