Jane’s Diary: adland jargon is suffering from a post-Cannes creativity crisis

Advertising is having a creativity crisis when it comes to buzzwords. Even economists are outshining adland’s finest in this area. Consider Bank of England boss Mark Carney’s recent adoption of the term “escape velocity” to explain sustainable growth. Okay, so it’s not exactly Milton, but it’s a sight more creative than the likes of “brain dump” or “custom activation”.

One of the many hangovers from Cannes Lions is a fresh batch of dubious new jargon. This year was a vintage one for wooly ad patter and go-to themes. Everyone was “leaning in” and “happy hacking” their way into our already bloated ad lexicon. If you weren’t “always on” you might as well have been dead, and those who didn’t espouse “marketing with a social conscience” risked coming across as a fascist minority.

And who knew Martin Luther King was such an inspiration to so many white, middle-aged, highly remunerated ad men who drink pink wine? The leader of the African-American civil rights movement was probably quoted more than anyone else at the Palais. Wonder if one of the networks will project Martin Luther King’s visage on the Carlton next year to “create a buzz”, “get a conversation started” or maybe even “curate the debate”?

Tedious as it is, jargon does occasionally have its uses. If you are trying the get your dinner party guests to leave in a hurry, why not bring up the subject of big data? Or just drop this line, overheard at Cannes this year, into the conversation: “Sponsorship is a brand noise getting in the way of my passion.”

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About Jane Austin

Jane Austin is the founder and owner of PR agency Persuasion Communications.

One comment

  1. LOL, as we now say. What has happened is that the jargon of SEO has been adopted by the ad frat. Now doesn’t that tell us a lot about the way things are moving?

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