As long as it rhymes it doesn’t need to make sense, right? It seems like it’s the latest craze to mispronounce, misspell, or hell even create new words. As Marketers, Publicists, PRs, Advertisers, Copywriters or as we often get called, wordsmiths and spin doctors, do we not have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the written word? I’m all for targeting and the positioning of a product—does it have to be at the expense of the English language though? Yes, I’ve written more than my fair share of ‘industry specific’ language which is technically questionable. And I take liberties with Facebook posts. The point is it has meaning for that particular audience. At what point does it go too far though?
I wrote about ‘goodification’ to death for a uni assignment <yawns>. I don’t know whether being on the lookout for those ad executions made me generally more aware of ads and billboards I would normally ignore however I saw another unrelated and completely different product ‘…er-er-er’ ad on a major arterial in the CBD.
In my mind there is a HUGE difference between using plain English and simplifying messaging for the sake of the fast pace of our society and completely bastardising and dumbing it down. Though, perhaps there is a consumer demand for ‘us’ to simplify our messaging?
I was reading a particularly distressed post a girlfriend made on Facebook about a literary review of a classic (and one of my personal favourite books), comparing it to a pop culture and ‘classic inspired’ novel. The redacted image she posted:
Ok, so the commentary compared Dracula to modern television series and Twilight. In all seriousness though, the marketer in me is going, “ok, I need to note this for future product and messaging positioning”. My personal views aside, have I completely missed the point of the ‘creatively-phrased’ campaigns?
Looking at Twilight, it was targeted at tweens and a strong tertiary market of adult readers has emerged. Sadly, yes, I’ve read it. There was nothing conceptually or linguistically challenging about it. (For the record, it was long before the hype and I’d run out of stuff to read, it looked mildly interesting and something easy to distract me with while on a plane). As a long-term adoring fan of the fantasy genre, I’ve never understood all the hype about Twilight. I highly doubt I was part of the primary target audience though. And that’s part of the point I guess.
I can’t say the simplification of language is a new trend. The music industry has been doing it for years and coins phrases we use (sometimes unconsciously) in everyday vernacular. It’s prolific with hip-hop…
… tee hee… a colleague of mine sent me this James@War clip years ago while I was working on a particularly frustrating project which turned me into a glorified proof-reader (I was pretty annoyed about the whole thing). The clip made me smile and still does.
So, do we need to stand our ground or go with the flow? I don’t know? I’m asking you :) and I’m going to typically respond with: test it, measure it and refine if required. Whether I like it or not, it’s about message-market match. If it works and is getting the results you are after, I don’t have to like it (look at Twilight!). It’s all about the conversion baby!
Over the last decade Lesleigh Ross has been leading project and change teams in complex delivery environments and transformation projects across public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Leigh is highly skilled in industry best practice methodologies and frameworks which is demonstrated through her ability to deliver quality business outcomes across ‘green fields’ and recovery projects and programmes.
As a ‘digital native’ Leigh believes delivering innovation in business is only possible through collaborative project design where the business and technical teams work hand in hand. A geek in her own right Leigh is able to “degeek the geek” and facilitate effective engagement through all stages of project delivery.
Leigh is the current Queensland Lead for the Change Management Institute and a proud member of the Australian Institute of Project Management and the International Centre of Complex Project Management. She is active in her local chapters and national interest groups which are focused on improving the professionalism, diversity and inclusion within the project management community.