Copyranter: Angry area man baffled by BS buzzwords

Mark Duffy has written the Copyranter blog for 10 years and is a freelancing copywriter with 20-plus years of experience. His hockey wrist shot is better than yours. Follow him on Twitter.

There are a lot of smart people in a lot of fields trying to make advertising more complicated than it actually is, trying to make it a science, trying to make it less “addy.”

And there are a lot of other people who respect what these smart people say who then parrot their words to more people who think that these not-as-smart people are smart, so they use these words so that they will look smart, too. And so on.

This is how BS buzzwords take root. It’s word-of-mouth malarkey, the most powerful malarkey there is. Allow me to take a stab at decoding the subtext of a few of the buzzier buzzwords.

Happy, satisfied. Also, a fraudulent new word for “advertising” because nobody likes ads even though every “content” website in cyberspace needs ads to survive. Additionally, anything that is part of something else. “Content is King,” so I guess Data is Queen. Traditional ad creatives are now serfs and jesters.

Snackable content
Everything brand social media “experts” tweet or post every day in lieu of creating something that’s fulfilling and sticks with you. More accurately, it is “content” that you’re supposed to actually eat, like this Fanta ad that tastes like orange and this VW ad that tastes like road.

Native Advertising
Beats me. Ads that are directed at/feature indigenous peoples of the world?

These are not the native ads you're looking for
These are not the native ads you’re looking for

Any piece of brand “content” that is a bald-faced lie. “Integrated storytelling” is the spreading of the lie across several consumer “touchpoints.” Also: the boring-ass “war” story sessions ad creatives hold at bars, drunk.

Programmatic ads
The inevitable next step in the devolution of creative advertising: ads written by robots, art directed by robots, bought by robots, placed by robots, read by robots, monitored by robots, scaled (falsely) by robots, and deleted by robots — just like all advertising humans will be, very soon.

A more complicated, heady word than “data” or “numbers,” perhaps? The total number of impressions, shares, mentions, Likes, Retweets, ReSnaps, RePins, and ReLinkedIns a piece of “content” tallies? Synonym: Bullshit.

Big data
Marketing information that is so big and sexy and complicated that the human brain can’t comprehend it. IBM supercomputers crash when loaded with it. When a “thought leader” hears the term, he experiences “organic growth.” If confronted with it in a meeting, just nod your head knowingly and maybe peek under the table to identify the room’s thought leaders.

Go ahead, make his day
Go ahead, make his day

Consumer engagement
Occurs when angry consumers troll brands and airlines on Twitter. Also: when two consumers fight over the last flatscreen TV on sale at Walmart, and such.

Creative technologist
A scientist who thinks he or she is creative enough to create “content”; or an ad creative who thinks he can build something technological, like an app or a drone, I guess.

Ephemeral content
Content so light and fluffy and meaningless that it soon disappears into thin air, sometimes immediately. The opposite of a Big Idea.

Curated brand experience
Hell if I know.

More in Marketing

In the marketing world, anime is following in the footsteps of gaming

As marketers look to take advantage of anime’s entry into the zeitgeist, they might be wise to observe the parallels between the evolution of anime as a marketing channel and the ways brands have learned to better leverage gaming in recent years. 

With the introduction of video ads and e-commerce, Roblox looks to attain platform status

Roblox is expanding into more areas than just ads in 2024. Much like platforms such as Amazon and Facebook have transcended their origins to evolve from their origins as online marketplaces and social media channels, Roblox is in the midst of a transformation into a platform for all elements of users’ virtual lives.