Advertising Week Europe: Making the case for your advertising jargon detox

When people use jargon, they often use it because they want to make themselves seem clever, mysterious and complicated to outsiders. How is that helpful to people in and out of the advertising industry?

The words you use matter, say our Advertising Week Europe panellists. Source: Bloomberg Media Studios

“We should pay fines when we use jargon,” Sue Unerman, MediaCom UK’s chief strategy officer, said at Advertising Week Europe. “We’re not helping each other by using it. It doesn’t say what we mean, and it makes things more complicated.”

We asked people in and out of advertising why speaking in plain English matters. Source: Bloomberg Media Studios

But David Weeks, CRO at The Week, says that using fewer buzzwords isn’t always easy and would go as far to say that it allows people within the profession to describe certain aspects of their craft to each other.

He does, however, agree outside of the industry his friends are baffled when he slips into ad jargon.

“For my friends, when I use words like ‘monetise’, ‘optimal’ or ‘engagement’, they’re smiling and nodding. To them it all sounds like very technical terms,” he said.

Over the last week, we’ve heard the arguments against advertising speak. Based on our discussions with both people in the advertising profession and folks outside of the media industry, it seems that the clearer our speech, the more interesting advertising can be for everyone.

“It can create wonderful place where the craft, technique and ideas of the best artists come together with business in a way that produces beautiful, strange and memorable pieces of work that people can genuinely take into their hearts,” comedian, writer and actor Adam Buxton said at Bloomberg Media’s session.

Read Digital Cinema Media’s wrap up of the great advertising jargon detox
Read next: Is video advertising ready to battle TV?

– Shannon Doubleday, April 27