September 30, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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George Parker: ad agencies’ mission to obfuscate the English language

Yes, I am a crotchety old geezer who constantly despairs about the current state of the ad biz. But above all else the thing that drives me craziest is the continuing abuse of the English language by the BDA’s (Big Dumb Agencies) and their BDHC’s (Big Dumb Holding Companies,) as they continue having a third of their revenues liposuctioned off whilst producing ads they should be ashamed of.

Even worse than the work, is the verbiage they wrap themselves in. Remember when twenty odd years ago JWT declared they were no longer an ad agency, they were now cultural anthropologists. It’s only gotten worse since then. One of my faithful AdScamers recently pointed me in the direction of a new company… Vysical… Whoever the hell they are, they tell us that they will… “Partner with disruptors to incubate and accelerate new ventures.” They will do this by… “Influencing the odds with our serial entrepreneurs, diverse skill sets, and structured approach accelerate and de-risk growth initiatives, increasing the likelihood and magnitude of your success.” I have no fucking idea what that means.

However, the icing on the cake is that Vysical’s CEO is none other than my old nemesis, Howard Draft. Yes, the guy who created Draft/FCB, which describing itself as the “Agency of the Future” won the humungous Walmart account, only to lose it three weeks later when it was disclosed that they had achieved this by various nefarious under the table means. They soon thereafter became the “Agency of the Past.”

Perhaps the people at Vysical should take a leaf out my fellow Mancunian’s excellent book… “My Paper Chase,” by Harold Evans, in which he describes his first journalistic job as a copy sub-editor on the Manchester Evening News. This involved editing the reporters verbose and sometimes overcooked language. “Provision for increased retail opportunities.” quickly became “More shops.” There’s nowt wrong wi that! Yes indeed.

Further compounding the abuse of the English language are the various spurious titles now being bestowed on agency employees… Such as Creative Brand Assimilator, . CEO Creative Transformation… And on and on. Why not simply Wanker in Chief? Even worse are the increasingly stupid names agencies are calling themselves by. In the current crop are such beauties as… Ad Nauseum Agency… Goofball Marketing… Kooky Creative Group. Would you even remotely consider giving your account to a bunch of douchenozzles who think they are so bloody clever to have come up with such idiotic titles.

Whatever happened to agencies that simply called themselves by their principal’s names, O&M, DDB, AMV? Dear old David Ogilvy and David Abbott must be spinning in their graves. Never mind… I’ll be joining them soon. But not ’till after a few more gin and tonics. Perhaps everything can best be summed up by the classic line of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction… “English, Motherfucker, Do You Speak It?” I’ll drink to that. Yes indeed!


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