Six More Media and Marketing Buzzwords That Must Die

An Artisanal Sequel

By Published on .

I recently published a column titled "Eight media and marketing buzzwords that must die." It was shared thousands of times across social media and I got a ton of virtual pats on the back (e.g., "Amen!") mostly via tweets and comments, as well as some great suggestions for additions to the list.

No, wait, let me rephrase that: The audience passionately engaged with my content and was not only inspired to share it but felt empowered to collaborate with me on additional content creation.

Credit: Kelsey Dake for Ad Age

I should note that some readers speculated about what their lives would be like in a buzzword-free world. Like Jeffrey Makowka (@jmakowka), who tweeted, "This would eliminate about 80% of the vocab in most of my meetings." Given that Jeffrey's title at AARP, per LinkedIn, is Senior Strategic Advisor, Thought Leadership, well, I believe him! (Coincidentally, I've been lobbying Ad Age to change my title from Media Guy to Senior Executive Evangelist, Echo Chamber.)

Meanwhile, Jafet Ramirez of Atlanta posted a comment on that read, "Sorry, Media Guy, but if I don't use those basic statements, it will be impossible to leverage my out-of-the-box thinking to engage our brand's stakeholders."

I'm afraid that Jeffrey may soon be struck entirely mute, and Jafet may have to leverage his thinking back into the box, because the people have spoken, and they want more buzzwords and phrases put on death row. To wit:

"Please add any form of transformative to the list," William Mount of Charlestown, Mass., wrote in a comment on "It's often seen in conjunction with some form of disruptive and must also be banished."

I dunno, William, banning transformative sounds like it could be sort of transformational. Are you sure you want to be that disruptive?

KayAnn P. Schoeneman (@KSchoeneman), VP-global research at Ketchum, tweeted, "Let's add impactful, too." Yes, let's!

"Also, any form of transparent/transparency," William "Transformative" Mount added in a second comment on "That makes me want to break things."

I feel you, William. When companies insist that they're being transparent, I tend to think, Yeah, because I can see right through your bullshit.

A reader who calls himself Old Ad Guy of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., nominated handcrafted for the Kill List via a post on And then right below that, reader Bill Sanders of Los Angeles added, "Yes, I was just about to add craft, used in any form. If I was asked to 'craft' one more blog ..." He trailed off without explaining what would happen if he were asked to craft another blog, but I'm picturing him breaking things like William "Transparent" Mount.

In the interest of full transparency, I want to note here that I don't craft columns and blog posts, I crap them out (although Ad Age's copy department would prefer that I use either excrete or extrude -- because, you know, Ad Age is a family publication and all).

I was inspired to include on steroids not by a reader, but by a certain marketing publication that last Wednesday published a post with a headline describing a big brand's summer ad campaign as "content marketing on steroids." That made me wonder why anyone would want content marketing with bacne, anger-management issues and testicles that have shrunk to the size of raisins.

This inclusion was inspired by a video interview with graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister that's gone viral in the past couple of weeks. It was posted on Vimeo by FITC (Future, Innovation, Technology, Creativity), a Toronto company that produces events for the design-tech community. All it is is Sagmeister ranting about what he calls "the storytelling thing." Here's an excerpt: "I think that all the storytellers are not storytellers. Like, recently I read an interview with somebody who designs rollercoasters and he referred to himself as a storyteller. No, fuckhead! You are not a storyteller, you are a rollercoaster-designer! And that's fantastic! And more power to you!"

He goes on from there in a similarly cranky, foulmouthed way, but what really clinches the video for me is that at the end FITC's logo appears next to that of the video's co-producer, Ottawa-based Crafted Stories, and its tagline: "Brand Storytelling."

Hey, I've got a story for Old Ad Guy and Bill Sanders: In Canada, the marketing stories aren't just created, they're crafted!

Probably by hand!

In a really impactful way!

Canada being Canada, though, if there are any drugs involved, I'm thinking pot, not steroids.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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