Buzz Off

Advertising culture is nutso for buzzwords. They pop up everywhere, constantly cycling in and out of vogue. We try to predict them for each calendar year like which strain of flu will hit the hardest, and like the flu if you’re not up-to-date it may have you feeling a bit scrambled.

via Flickr

via Flickr

Think about it. Synergism, big data, core competency. Engagement, al desko, S.W.A.T. Growth hackers, thought leaders, lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Many of us are inundated with terms like these on a daily basis, and it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

The buzzword barrage is the scourge of effective communication, turning clear, streamlined thought into pseudo-efficient gobbledygook that has you Google-ing so hard under the conference room table your Smartphone is starting to overheat. What’s meant to be fast and to the point has you feeling slow and disoriented and you want to stick your head deep down in the dirt of the nearest potted plant, but before you decide to call in sick tomorrow how about we pop a couple of these marketing microbes under a microscope and see if we can’t make you feel just a little better.

Begin the snackable content! Let’s start with an old classic:

“Out of Pocket”

Commonly used to mean “unreachable, or out of communication,” out of pocket actually means you’re out some money because an expense wasn’t covered. So next time you say out of pocket, we hope it’s because you just spent all your money on apology coffees for everyone you said “out of pocket” to.

“Monkey High Five”

A monkey high five is a reward gifted to the user of an app, like a small badge or animation. Or outside of the app, a reward for a job well done. Because that’s what you want when you’ve really done it. Not a raise. A high five. From a monkey.


An acronym combining three big trends—social media, local commerce and mobile apps—SoLoMo sounds more like the inverse relationship of the speed of your success relative to your usage of this term.

Are you feeling better? Me either. Let’s keep going.


The great marketing epiphanies of our time were not arrived at while in a yurt at Burning Man. Using holistic to describe really anything in marketing is beyond wishful thinking, even Phish-ful thinking. It’s just kind of silly, but you know, Namaste, or whatever.

“Bleeding Edge”

If by “bleeding edge” you mean “the forefront,” then “I accidentally cut myself on the bagel slicer” means “four-day weekend,” right? In that case, let’s get a dozen.

Those are just some of the ones that really seem to slow things down for us, but let’s be fair. There are a lot of people out there who probably use these words to great effect. The air of professionalism and knowledge they lend is undeniable, but what’s that old adage? Feed a cold, starve a fever? Maybe we should spend a little more time diagnosing the issues in our communication before we go introducing any foreign languages. Leave those buzzwords out. We think you’ll be surprised how easy it is to talk to people when they know just what you’re saying.


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