“Let’s go viral.”
“Think outside the box.”
“Make it pop!”
“So, what’s the ask here?”
These are words and phrases you won’t soon hear coming from the Weber Shandwick Seattle office.
Because we are officially instating a ban on buzzwords — and, needless to say, the office is buzzing about it.
A video team that goes beyond going [you-know-what]
When she first heard about the ban, Ashley Trenkle, a videographer and Pac Man aficionado, initially feared the thought of removing “viral” from her vocabulary. After all, viral videos are an inevitable force in her line of work. But, after letting the idea of the ban settle, Ashley has had a breakthrough. How can one videographer hold herself to the standard of the Cowbell Dog or David after the Dentist?
“Sure, I indulge in the occasional cat video — who doesn’t? But that stuff tends to go in one ear and out the other.” Ashley explained. “In a cyber-sea full of #epicfails and adorable baby animals, eliminating… ‘that phrase’ will allow me to experiment with making content with real stopping power.”
“It’s about time!” exclaimed Collin Monda, filmmaker and animation specialist, immediately after he heard about the ban.
“Now that we’re not using that word as a catch-all for the ideal video, we can break down our thinking,” he explains. “We can’t plan for accidental successes (because who can?) — so we plan for what’s actually in our control. We think about whom we are talking to and why, craft a smart, unique concept, and hopefully people will share the resulting work.”
UX designer rejoices: “Finally! I’m more than the sum of my boxes!”
For Mark Ellis, a user experience designer, “thinking outside the box” is more than just an ambiguous command for creativity — it is an invitation to literally stop drawing all of those wireframe boxes.
“I do more than just draw boxes and arrows, you know. Actually, the best part of what I do happens during the discovery process,” Mark explains. “No wireframes. No boxes. No arrows. So when I think outside the box, I think outside the boxes. ”
Banning the tired “think outside the box” cliché from the Weber Seattle lexicon will finally help legitimize all of the great creative concept work that Mark does — outside of his [wireframe] boxes.
Media maven: “Keep the buzz bans coming!”
Dan Lee, VP of Media Relations at Weber Shandwick Seattle, is no stranger to banning buzzwords. When prepping his clients to get in front of the press, Dan insists on replacing fluffy, nondescript jargon with concrete, more meaningful words.
“I even keep a journal of all buzzwords!” Lee said. And he’s serious about it.
Now that the ban has turned internal, Dan is ready to unleash his passion.
“No more moving the needle to ladder up to cutting-edge actionable items! No more tabling the discussion to circle back later for a deeper dive into the game-changing ecosystem! Our ducks are in a row, our ideas are fully baked, and our learnings are discovered. No more buzzwords!”
Clearly, Dan couldn’t be happier about the ban.
Designers re-calibrate after ban on “pop”
Ryan Applegate, a graphic designer, felt an immeasurable weight lifted from his tattooed shoulders after being informed of the ban on “making it pop.” For years, Ryan had been struggling on the path to make-it-pop enlightenment.
“Can the holy grail of ‘pop’ ever be attained? What sort of devilish fiend is behind this design enigma? How does one make a white paper pop, anyway?” Sadly, Ryan nearly drove himself to the brink of insanity on his quest for the essential truth.
But the ban has spared him the torture.
“No more sleepless nights for me! Now that I no longer need to find the meaning behind making something ‘pop,’ I can better focus on nailing my work.”
Copywriters release collective sigh of relief at proper grammatical use of “ask”
Few things anger a copywriter more than the presence of a green squiggly underline in Word, indicating a grammatical mistake. So when Kevin Hatman, copywriter and two-time junior high spelling bee champion, started hearing the word “ask” being thrown around as a noun, he began losing faith in the power of grammar — and the rest of humanity.
But that’s all changed, thanks to the buzz ban.
“This is just the beginning,” explains Kevin. “Now that we’ve all agreed that nouns are nouns and verbs are verbs, we can get to work on reclaiming other misused words like ‘leverage,’ ‘innovate’ and ‘ecosystem.’”
At this point you may be wondering — what happens if one of us slips up and sneaks a banned phrase into conversation?
Enter Mike Mathieu, Weber Shandwick Seattle copywriter and comedian extraordinaire.
“If I hear even a whisper about asks, viruses or boxes, I am ready to police the situation. And I take my work seriously — very seriously.”
So, what’s next? We invite you to enact your own ban on buzzwords. It may be tough at first, but as our buzz-free Seattle team can assure you, your work will be all the better for it.