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Posts Tagged ‘Office Space

Newspeak, Doublethink and Other Bald PR Euphemisms

with 3 comments

George Orwell. Conspiracy theorist to some. Genius to others. Regardless, I dig his writing.

And I presume when he coined “doublethink” and “newspeak”, his crystal ball or tea leaves took him straight to some of the stuffy public relations executive boardrooms we have all been inside, yet, dare not discuss at parties.

Um, yeah... did you get the memo?

Um, yeah... did you get the memo?

Why? It would put people to sleep and cause them to nose dive into their onion ranch dip.

Can you imagine a tête-à-tête full of Orwellian psychobabble like “we need to be laser focused,” “move the needle” and “let’s create some synergy”?

Just writing those made me throw up a little in my mouth.

Well, thanks to the handiwork of David Meerman Scott (big marketing guy) and his “analysis of 711,123 press releases,” [what the…] we now have the list of the Top 25 Gobbledygook Words from 2008.

Some big players I have personally seen, begrudgingly and worked diligently to avoid are the following:

  1. [Very] unique
  2. Innovate
  3. New and improved
  4. 120 [or 110] percent
  5. Scalability

Now, there are some repeat offenders in my lexicon, such as commitment, partnership and leverage. But hey, sometimes it’s what works.

But these point to a clear source of angst among those we pitch in our fare burgh, there’s no need to trick up an e-mail, a release or even Web copy.

Journalists are searching underneath the cushions in their couch for good stories, but if they get pitches full of “strategery” and other Web 2.0, needle-moving,  and innovative words, they will get filed in that special bin and our clients won’t be discussed.

People get quoted because what they said works. Consider Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit” the next time you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.

And I could talk about that for hours, but only after I mix in a thesaurus.


Written by theflak

May 6, 2009 at 11:00 am