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Wanted: Plain Language
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Listen up gurus, un-marketers, specialists, ninjas, ideators, curators, change agents, brand evangelists, mavens, wizards, brand artists, mAD men and women, and commercial anthropologists (seriously).

We're going to need you to settle down.

The way we present and differentiate ourselves has to be easier than creating monikers that makes it difficult for clients to understand what we do. Let's be honest; we still have to explain to our friends and families what exactly we do in advertising; we still have to explain what "branding" is, so why make it more difficult?

George Parker, the man who has quite the axe to grind for the current agency world, wrote a piece about this subject recently for Business Insider. He references how J. Walter Thompson (now JWT) wanted to shift to "Commercial Anthropology," and how Saatchi & Saatchi UK were building a business unit called "Industry Saatchi," a unit that would throw sounds and smells at clients in order for that big idea to hit them.

Thankfully, both ideas flopped.

What in the world is going on in AdLand that we feel like we need to engage in this kind of nonsense? Is relying on good creative, presentation, and relationships no longer a winning formula? We'd honestly rather do business with someone who says they do advertising rather than a brand ninja. We like creative, not crazy.

If you were a business owner or a CMO, or better yet, if your loved one was a business owner or CMO, what would you ask them if they told you that they were meeting with a "brand wizard?" No doubt you would offer up your reservations.

But our colleagues are not getting the point. There must be more to refusing to speak plain language than just sounding like a mad person. It could be that the saturation of the agency world dictates some other way to stand out other than the work and the talent. Or, perhaps we're wrong and business owners and CMOs flock to the wizards and brand evangelists for some odd reason.

In any case, Parker is right. AdLand needs to lock it up and stop sounding so ridiculous. Let's be creative, not silly. Silly gets attention, not business.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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