I don’t know why it happens, but it seems that the more time people spend in advertising, the more they begin to oppose the idea of clarity. Exceptions exist, of course (what, you think I’m stupid? I still want to work in this industry tomorrow), but they aren’t as common as one would like.
See, when you’re a junior writer (or visualiser or account executive or planner), you usually use words people can understand. Not always, especially if you’re an English Lit graduate, but most of the times. Short words (four letters, starts with f) or longish words (abbr. PPT, often occurs in dark conference rooms), but words that for most part everybody in the room will understand.
Then a few years down the line, something weird happens.
Planners and VPs begin to feel the need to use jargon in everyday conversation. Like ‘modularize’ or ‘synergistic’. What the hell is ‘synergistic’? Are we really saying that the client, an Ahmedabad-based wholesale industrial glass manufacturer, knows or cares about something that’s ‘synergistic’? Does anybody else in the room, for that matter, except the poor sod operating the PPT?
No, sir, they do not.
They don’t give a tiny rat’s ass about all the abbreviations either. Nobody is going to wait for the CTA till EOD or give you an ETA for the ISD. They can’t, see? Because the whole the time the only thought in their head is WTF.
And we creatives are no better, by the way.
“Our campaign is going to revolutionarize the category and create a comfortable brand space in the consumer’s mind because its essence lies in its seamless blend of East-West aesthetics, which completely relate to our core values and help us adopt a holistic approach to our communication so that we can really go after the demographics in terms of need-based want-fulfillment.”
Oh, for shame. To what MBA demon did you sell your soul to?
Look, I completely understand that a little bullshit goes a long way in selling campaigns. Hell, I can’t talk, I’ve done it myself. All I’m saying is, let the bullshit be cloaked in words you don’t have to look up a management manual for.
Planners, servicing guys: if not your presentations to the client, then keep at least your briefing clear. Avoid the use of ‘functionalities’. And please, for the love of god, do NOT use ‘macro’ as a prefix for anything. Unless you want the creative team to sit for a month on the brief and then come up with something that has no relevance to the product, the brand or sanity.
Likewise, creative people: sell your idea, your campaign, without resorting to ridiculous words that pretend to be strategy, but are secretly copy-pasted from thesaurus.com. It’s serving no purpose and honestly, clients are not that dumb. Also, just so you know, talking about ‘feminine evolution’ in a conversation about shampoo is just plain wrong and has the added bonus of making you look like a complete twat.
Bottomline: this madness needs to stop. Otherwise, we’ll simply keep on having to schedule more face- time to extemporize on the dynamics and paradigm-shifts that energise our critical need to disambiguate our macro-content for our core competencies.
Whatever that means.
Vedashree Khambete is an ACD with Mudra, a writer at heart and a coffee-addict by vocation.