In the small corner of the world known as the advertising industry, we speak in ridiculous ways. We level-set expectations, parallel path assignments, circle back on conversations and ask what the ask is. As absurd as it may sound to an outsider, the jargon works for us because it’s harmless.
It stops being as effective when our language becomes violent.
Once work is won, we attend briefings for new campaigns to discuss strategy. We kill ideas, scripts and design choices. Creatives try to revive ideas they love when the creative director says they are on life support.
We huddle in war rooms to work on pitches. We plot guerilla marketing tactics. We divide and conquer to hit a project’s drop-dead date. If the direction of creative changes drastically, we pay a kill fee to a vendor. And whether the campaign is a hit or a miss, a post-mortem appears on our calendars.
Every step of every project we work on is infused with language that is violent, has military origins or both. It feels rooted in a singularly American, capitalist mindset—we view competing companies as the enemy, so we try to gain any competitive advantage we can that will boost business and move units.