The Most Annoying Buzzwords
commentary by Peter DeLegge
We're halfway through 2007, but we haven't made much progress following the recommendations of the Creative Group. At the end of 2006 they polled 250 marketing and advertising executives to create their latest list of the most overused buzzwords.
Of course, they probably should have polled other departments to find out what they thought were the most overused buzzwords from marketing and advertising departments (we do generate a good number of these terms). I've edited down their list to create the absolute worst of the worst of over-used, annoying buzzwords and added my commentary. Granted, many of these words have legitimate uses, but their overuse has been so dramatic, it is probably a good idea to limit their use so as to not drive co-workers to the brink of insanity:
- This phrase should only be used as a joke. It made their past list too. It should go into the hall of fame - or is that hall of shame?
- If you're using this phrase, I'm willing to bet you're probably wearing plaid pants and a bright bow tie.
- The big idea
- Okay, if you actually said this, chances are you're not the one with the big idea.
- While ROI is an important business measure, marketing and advertising professionals have abused this acronym so badly, I'm actually starting to think we should institute a law that says you can only use this term if you possess a permit that proves you understand what it means and are actually capable of generating positive ROI.
- Paradigm shift
- If you're still using this term, be advised, the paradigm already shifted sometime in the 70's. You actually missed it.
- Integrated solution
- Are there really non-integrated solutions? This one is too meaningless to be spoken.
- If you're still over-using this one, odds are you have a Pets.com sock puppet on your desk.
- Make it pop
- Unless you own a time machine, there's no need for this one.
- Break through the clutter
- If this is the best you can come up with, clearly, you are part of the clutter.
- Take it to the next level
- On second thought, perhaps the level you are on is most appropriate.
- Free value
- Huh? You lost me.
- Low-hanging fruit
- As annoying as this one is, I admit, I've been guilty. I try to use quick hits, which was probably a finalist for this list.
- It is what it is
- And the plural form, They are what they are. I like this, but only when used for humorous effect.
The Creative Group's previous list had a number of gems, including some on the latest list and a number of classics that some managers and consultants just can't stop themselves from (over) using:
- At the end of the day
- Thinking outside the box
- Take it offline
- Redeployed people
- On the runway
- Get on the same page
- Customer centric
- Generation X
- Accountability management
- Core competency
Report information comes from Peter DeLegge's marketingtoday.blogspot.com.
Speaking of Buzz, Campaign of Few Words Generates Big Buzz
Can two words sum up what a hospital and its staff are all about? Sure, when they're backed up by a huge marketing program like the Hello Life campaign launched by Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, AL.
“Hello Life represents the attitude that our caregivers hope to imbue upon our patients,” says Marketing Director Debbie Hollenstein. “When a patient receives care at Brookwood, he or she should leave the hospital able to lead a happier, healthier and more active lifestyle — to have the attitude of living life to the fullest.”
The hospital kicked off the program with a teaser campaign. Starting in January, they spread the Hello Life message (without letting on who was behind it) using print ads, billboards and radio spots. Street teams in high-traffic areas handed out thousands of T-shirts and tens of thousands of stickers, window decals and flyers. To prevent anyone from spilling the beans, they told the street team as little as possible about the campaign they were working on. They knew three things:
- The message wasn't political.
- The message wasn't religious.
- The message was about the power of being positive.
Niki Lim, PR coordinator, says that the street team had their best day at a charitable run for cancer research. “Runners after the race want to change T-shirts anyway, and with Hello Life, they were like, ‘Oh, it must be a Survive Cancer thing.’ ”
After three weeks, Brookwood revealed its role in the campaign with TV and radio spots, print ads, direct mail and employees wearing T-shirts and stickers. “Our immediate goal was to generate buzz,” Lim says. “I think we did that effectively, based on feedback from the street team, the article in the Birmingham News and client feedback since the reveal.”