The Great Advertising Detox: busting the jargon

    Author Zoe Aresti

Hosted by Comedian Adam Buxton, Digital Cinema Media’s Karen Stacey participated in a jargon-free discussion around some of the modern day issues facing the advertising industry today at Bloomberg Media’s Advertising Week Europe session last week.  

British comedian, actor and director, Adam Buxton opened the stage at Advertising Week Europe’s ‘The Great Advertising Jargon Detox’ session explaining that people often use jargon when they want to make something and themselves appear “more clever, mysterious and complicated”. However, to outsiders, the users of jargon appear less as “clever, mysterious and complicated” and more as “dicks”. 

Buxton continued to explain that in today’s ever-shifting media landscape, as some advertisers employ more and more irritating and intrusive ads which are alienating the public, the last thing they need is to further isolate themselves by employing a jargon filled “dick language”.

If this is making people think negatively about the advertising industry as a whole, we need to enforce a jargon detox and look at ways of working together in a more fluid way. 

The panel, which included Digital Cinema Media’s CEO Karen Stacey, MediaCom’s CSO, Sue Unerman; The Week’s Executive Director, David Weeks and Blippar’s President of Global Marketing, Omaid Hiwaizi, went on to have a jargon-free discussion around some of the modern day issues facing the advertising industry today.  

Each panellist called out their least favourite jargon, with Unerman finding “engagement” unbearable as it just means the industry hopes the people they’re talking to don’t completely ignore them, “it’s not specific enough” she said. DCM’s Stacey detests the phrase “we need to make this go viral – something either will or it won’t go viral”, while Weeks hates the line that “data is the new soil that will allow our ideas to grow” – for him it’s against everything that nature stands for. Finally for Hiwaizi it’s “value proposition”, which is a phrase that is so ill-defined and used so often by people who understand it so little, or as Buxton explained it: “I’m going to make you a proposition that is not going to be utterly shit!”

Next the panel covered the topic of ad-blocking, which 65% of publishers say is a threat with 12 million people in the UK using ad blockers. There is a need for the industry to use simpler, clearer and plainer language before we lose touch with the people we’re trying to connect with. According to Stacey, we’re losing the sense of what customer service we’re giving when we engage consumers. We’re measuring the wrong thing and we need to think about the experience online as we do in real life. 

Hiwaizi stated that ad blocking is just the latest visible incarnation of people avoiding ads, “it’s just the latest form of the phenomenon”. Brands need to understand what consumers want – ads that don’t enrich audience experience will get blocked, which is why we have to put the audience first. 

Discussing social media and in particular the return of traditional media, Weeks says it shouldn’t be viewed in such a way: you can’t please all people at one time and no one channel can do that. People are becoming more confident in their choice of mediums rather than it just being expected to be used because it’s there. 

For any medium, the most valuable thing is its relationship with its customers. For Stacey, what’s changed is that people are consuming more media channels simultaneously. That means your content has to be good otherwise it won’t get through as people are easily distracted. 

Karen finished off by talking about trends developing in the cinema world and how brands are approaching advertising. It’s quite simply all about content. Cinema is in a privileged position where its core proposition is getting stronger not weaker. It's the one place where you're in a dark room and you’re told to turn off your phone! With 10-12 minutes before the film, this time is precious and DCM is talking to advertisers about how to effectively use that time. 

With 90% of cinema ads exactly the same as TV ads last year, but 85% of people thinking they are different, Unerman reiterated that the secret of advertising is marching the content to the medium!

Watch the full session here and join in the conversation on Twitter using #jargondetox.

Watch a highlights video here: