Richard Alford is the managing director of M&C Saatchi
Richard Alford is the managing director of M&C Saatchi
A view from Richard Alford

Richard Alford: Industry idioms that need to be given the Room 101 treatment

In no particular order, these are a few of my least-favourite things:

A brain dump - revolting (but increasingly common) phrase designed to excuse an ill-considered, random pile of half-thoughts that are of absolutely no use or interest. AKA talking shit or talking out of your arse.

We need an "Every little helps" - code for "we have no product benefits or advantages to talk about, yet we want you to make us into the most successful and wealthy brand in Britain".

... like Apple - code for "we have no product benefits or advantages to talk about, we don't give a shit about design, yet we want you to make us into the most successful and wealthy brand in the world".

Slapstick - a misappropriated and hostile phrase now used to undermine any creative work that is, even slightly, funny. As in "it's just too slapstick for OUR brand".

Intelligent humour but not belly laugh - a term used to describe a magic sort of wit that seems only to exist on creative briefs. I say belly laughs are a good thing. I want more belly laughs in advertising. Let's get bellies laughing all over the country!

Clever clever - as in "this work is just too clever clever". Next time you hear it, just respond with: "It's not too clever clever, you are just too stupid stupid to get it."

Impactful - I'm not sure this is a real word at all, but it is used unnecessarily to demand successful advertising. A bit like going to a restaurant and ordering "some food that is really edible".

A powerful insight - an agency phrase, meaning a very obvious and broad observation of little interest or originality.

Clunky - as in "the copy is a bit clunky". The ultimate account handler insult to all copywriters. Generally means "you have failed to disguise all the guff we made you put into the copy". Good ripostes include: "I'll tell you what's clunky - the sound of my fist hitting your face."

It's a truly big idea - account handlers' phrase, meaning: "We've got a neat slogan."

Customer focus - a phrase that rather begs the question: "What the hell were you focusing on before?"

Wow! factor - ridiculous phrase, used to try to persuade a reluctant agency to use a celebrity or stuffed animal. Generally accompanied by mutterings about budget "constraints" (cuts).

Stakeholders - anonymous people you've never met, or heard of, who nevertheless must be engaged with, since they are supremely important to the outcome of absolutely everything. Previously known as "the chairman's wife".

Unsubscribe - I NEVER FUCKING SUBSCRIBED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Richard Alford is the managing director of M&C Saatchi