Buzzwords and the Stereotyping Trap

Just this afternoon, I sat in a meeting where the delegates were discussing the merits and benefits of web-based targeting, using the ‘passion centre’ concept. Obviously I looked suitably clued …

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25th April 2007 at 6:14 pm

Just this afternoon, I sat in a meeting where the delegates were discussing the merits and benefits of web-based targeting, using the ‘passion centre’ concept. Obviously I looked suitably clued up, whilst twitching my feet uncomfortably under the desk and hoping desperately that someone (anyone, please), would explain what the hell we were talking about.

Five minutes later, it all made perfect sense. Passion centres are places (virtual and real world) where people congregate to pursue the interests they are passionate about (think music, gardening, politics). It’s also a term for commercial tie ups between a business and a worthwhile cause that people are passionate about – so charities and other CSR initiatives.

I arrived at this understanding by using my wits and a bit of a web search, because unfortunately there is no definitive dictionary or wiki for buzzwords and phrases that are born and die at a similar rate to exotic butterflies… But unfortunately it seems that the marketing industry (more than others) is littered with em.

A couple of weeks ago I was similarly non-plussed in a conversation about ‘massclusivity’. Urm – that’d be mass market products and services that create the fantastic illusion of exclusivity to give their price tag a firm kick in the upward direction. (No links again – because the word DOESN’T EXIST, in the real world, virtual world or anywhere meaningful. . .just in the very thin atmosphere of the Marketing Agency meeting room, where creative types scratch their very large heads and make up new words to protect their expert status. . .grrrr).

Whilst I’m having a moan. . .Another really bad habit of ye olde marketingy types is to take consumer ‘insights’ – which absolutely form the crux of sound marketing practice … and warp them into really crazy stereotypes in an attempt to wow their clients. This is the most entertaining example I’ve seen of this. Enjoy.

I think it was McCanns who used to have a logo that said ‘Truth well told’ – and I’m certainly not having a pop at them, they’re nice chaps – they HAVE, however, changed their logo. But there seem to be plenty around who’s so called ‘truths’ are little more than a Jackanory story – inventions of the day that do plenty to entertain, but with little real consequence.

If you’ve encountered any corking buzzword bingo recently, I’d love to hear from you …

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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