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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

How to review copy, plus the Tin Piss-Pot for use of jargon. And we’ve been here before, folks – many times. Plus, if you want to meet me …

Yesterday a client wrote saying that my copy was to be reviewed by various “stakeholders”. I wrote pleading with her not to use jargon.

I forgot to quote David Ogilvy’s rule: copy should only be reviewed by two people: the person who commissioned it, then once he or she is content, by someone very senior to make sure it’s OK. Otherwise the process is like being nibbled to death by ducks, as my old art director Marty Stein used to put it.

Today’s tin piss-pot for most imaginative use of meaningless jargon goes to the Creative Director of Interbrand in Australia, which has just won the Alzheimers’ Society account.

He said “to cut through the clutter of the charity landscape” they’ve decided on a “fighting spirit and stronger tone of voice at the heart of the new brand”.

"It is designed to create a national movement, not just another campaign," he said. "It features a flexible logo that changes and evolves to communicate different messaging. The identity is bold, simple and clear, and deliberately very cost effective to implement. Using two colours and often, just four words."

They are going to change everything from the stationery upwards. That should cost plenty of the donors' money. Don't ask what tests they will do, because I bet the answer is "none".

I want to know if the man, whose name is Michael Rigby, is telling the truth.

It's hard to tell, isn't it, as the statement is almost without meaning.

However, new research from Jochim Hansen of New York University and Michaela Wänke of the University of Basel reveals that besides irritating the hell out of customers and people we work with, jargon makes them think we are not telling the truth.

But here’s the kicker. The article, in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, is headed Truth From Language and Truth From Fit: The Impact of Linguistic Concreteness and Level of Construal on Subjective Truth.

Before you say another word, the a with two dots over it in Wänke is pronounced like an e. And she and her colleague get a special prize for the ironic use of jargon

I am reading a book set in the reign of Henry V111.

Just as Blair and Brown pissed away the largest surplus this country has ever had on foolish ventures, leaving us in debt, Henry pissed away the surplus his father Henry V11 left, plus whatever he could steal from the monasteries, on disastrous military capers.

To solve the problem he resorted to debasing the coinage – putting less silver in it. Nowadays this is called Quantitative Easing. In the early 1700’s Daniel Defoe described it as “debauching the currency.”

Tonight at 6:00 the attendees at EADIM will be gathering for drinks at The Cavendish in Jermyn Street. I will be giving a very short (hurrah) speech on 20 ways to improve your results by at least 20%.

If you want to join us, it costs £20 plus VAT on the door. At their prices, that's cheap.

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