Surrounding Yourself With Breakthrough Idiocy

I’m a huge fan of Hugh MacLeod’s cartoons. But this one’s by far and away my favorite; it’s hanging up in my office:
But the problem isn’t limited to just the way we talk in ads. It got me to thinking why businesspeople, particularly in advertising, use phrases and language of war and criminal behavior in meetings, emails, and other parts of workaday existence:

Simply put, you can’t use the language of war or criminal behavior and expect people to like you. And you can’t spew that nonsense in meetings if you want to be taken seriously, or have your agency or your client’s brand to be thought of in a positive light.
I know, military expressions are pervasive in our lives. I’m not sure if it originated with Sun-Tzu, or World War II veterans returning home to become The Men In The Grey Flannel Suits, but somewhere along the line the language of war became the language of business and marketing.
You hear it every day in your ad agency or company, I bet: “It’s all hands on deck. We need to add some creative firepower. That is, if we want to execute some really killer ads. Got it? Alright everyone, lock and load!”

It’s getting very hard for me to take people seriously when they say stuff like that. It’s the focus of my new column on Talent Zoo. And be sure to check out their entire site, as it’s been redesigned.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.