The 10 most annoying words in marketing

VCCP CEO Michael Sugden reflects on the past year and offers some advice for 2015 by counting down the 10 most annoying words.

Content is the second most annoying word in marketing
Content is the second most annoying word in marketing

Maybe it’s part of the aging process but I’m becoming increasingly intolerant of certain words. Popular culture is suddenly awash with useless and irritating jibber-jabber.

The number one offender is the made up word. Amazebonk. Ridonculous. Hot on the heels of this made up piffle is the abbreviation. Emoshe, blates, obvs, adorbs, yolo…

I work in a profession that is as guilty as any for creating butter mountains of annoying mumbo jumbo.

It would be easy to point the finger at Generation x, y, z (or whatever we’re on now) but that would be ridonculous hypocrisy. For I work in a profession that is as guilty as any for creating butter mountains of annoying mumbo jumbo.

As marketers we can’t help ourselves from creating, manipulating and misappropriating the English language in to the most meaningless and annoying of words and expressions. So below is my one-man crusade to ‘out’ the ten most annoying words in marketing….

10. Edutainment: a marketing classic. Take two words and merge them into one. Genius. Or should I say amazius?

9. Reaching out:  couldn’t you just call me, text me or speak to me? Reaching out sounds more like an HR incident- an inappropriate lunge at the office Christmas party.

8. Phygital: where the physical world meets the digital world. Profound. Sounds more like a condition my 4 year old boy might be diagnosed with.

7. Platform: the definition of a platform is ‘a raised level surface on which people or things can stand’. Can one stand on an app or a website? It’s a mystery…

6. Touch base: are we playing soft ball? What fun!

5. Low hanging fruit: a wise man once told me low hanging fruit is dusty and covered in cat pee.

4. Wash up: I’m never really sure what I’m supposed to do when we agree to a wash up. Do I need Marigolds?

3. Mobile: it’s all about mobile. Or at least it was. Now it’s about phablets. What happens when a big tablet becomes a small telly? Phelevision?

2. Content: please someone stab me in the eye with a very sharp pencil. I thought I had been creating content my entire career, albeit there are now new mediums and formats we can use. Apparently not.  

1. Digital: the laziest and most meaningless word in the marketing lexicon. It can mean everything and nothing in equal measure.

New words and terminology are a way of impressing knowledge and understanding without actually having the knowledge and understanding.

So why are we such advocates of this claptrap creation? As marketers shouldn’t we be the champions of clarity and simplicity? Of all of the industries out there surely we should be the ones who speak in the clearest of clear English?

I believe it’s a way of coping with the new and unfamiliar. Flowery language is a disguise, a cloak over shortcomings in knowledge. New words and terminology are a way of impressing knowledge and understanding without actually having the knowledge and understanding.

We should all spend less time creating silly jibber-jabber to explain the new. Let’s instead spend the time actually learning and understanding how the new will affect the brands we work for.

So please join me in helping ensure 2015 remains #jibberjabberfree