I have mentioned before that I will continue to question and try and understand why advertising works the way it does and why the processes and principles in place are the way they are.
So in this post I have looked at a lot of the lingo that is used in advertising.
As ad man, Jeremy Bullmore, says, specialised terms will always exist, a lot of the time for ease of explanation.
However what annoys me is that sometimes these terms are just used because it is convention, not because it is easier or simpler. Furthermore for new people entering the advertising industry, why should they use these terms? To be part of the 'in-group'?
What is even more frustrating is seeing so many people not bother to ask why. Just going along with the norm. Of all the job sectors in the world, convention should never be present in advertising.
So here is a, by no means comprehensive, list of some standard industry terms, from my own experiences and a few other people's.
If you would like to play AdLingo Bingo you can download some game sheets here.
Adcept – An idea that isn't fully finished, can be made up of a series of scamps (see Scamps).
Ambient - Not traditional advertising, normally outside and something that the general public can experience, be it touch, take a photograph etc.
Amplification - A piece of advertising usually that is usually ambient advertising (see Ambient) is shown on YouTube or promoted on Twitter or Facebook or even in a television advert.
Brand Onion/Wheel/House - Words in a structure that make the strategic idea look a little different.
Breakout Space(s) - Scattered sofas or chairs where agency people can talk and seem relaxed. It shows that agencies are really cool, hip places to work.
Buy-in - Making sure no one has any problems with what you are striving for/trying to sell. Achieving buy-in for a campaign would mean that everyone supports the idea.
Campaign – A collection of different types of advertising (Press, TV, Billboards etc) that all refer to a similar offer or product or brand.
Capacity - It means time. "Do you have capacity to do this piece of work?" No. But I do have some time do this piece of work.
Catch Up - A meeting (normally internal) in which you discuss a specific topic or client's work. Why doesn't let's speak about this later suffice? I have no clue.
Channel – The format in which an advertisement takes. An example of a channel would be TV. Can also be referred to as a ‘media channel’.
Concept - Pretty much an idea that people in the creative department don't feel is right until they've received approval from someone else than it becomes an adcept (see Adcept).
Copy - A sentence, sentences or phrase. It means words that have been together to sound good. 'Good Copy' would be the best way of saying something.
Content – Anything.
Creds – Short for ‘credentials’ usually a list of agency achievements and clients they work on. 50% of the time the agencies credentials are made up every time.
Crib Sheet - Actually comes from 'Crib' meaning support in mining terms. A document to support your knowledge of that client or subject.
Curation – Collecting content (see Content) advertisers like to compare themselves to artists, hence curator/curation.
Deck - It's a presentation because apparently a presentation is like a pack of cards. What?
Doc - For when saying 'document' simply won't do, this can refer to a word document, a presentation (see Deck) or even paternity test form. True Story.
Engagement - Will people be bothered to do what you want e.g. Pay attention/ press a button/ type something/ share a link.
End of Play - At the end of the day. End of Play sounds like End of Day so it actually makes perfect sense...
Executive - Used to mean high up now tends to refer to the lowest position in the field proceeds it. E.g Account Executive , the lowest position of account person. Graduates pretty much polish the shoes of Account Executives.
Firm-Up - To focus towards one idea, to have a more substantial idea.
Flesh-Out - To fill something out/ complete something properly.
Flow – The order of a presentation, can be interchangeable with narrative (see Narrative).
Lateral Thinking – Thinking a little different but not so differently that no one understands what your are talking about, normally requires a thesaurus.
Laydown - More a media agency term, A 'Laydown' displays what is going to happen in any given time with costs and the type of advertising. Basically a glorified timeline.
Listening Tools - A number of applications that monitor 'social media' sites such as Twitter and Facebook for specific words that usually relate to brands or advertising campaigns (see Campaign).
Integration - When the different types of advertising you are using all make sense and have similar/supporting messages.
Kickoff Meeting - A meeting usually before starting a big piece of work where everyone or the key people working on it discuss how everything will be done.
Narrative – Normally used to describe the story that is told throuout a PowerPoint presentation, can be interchangeable with flow (see Flow).
Planner – They are meant to be the closest link to the consumer in an advertising agency. I have also heard the analogy “If the creative teams tell the story, the planners decide what story should be told”. Yet again agency nonsense.
Reel - A collection of video clips showing pieces of work that an individual/ agency has worked on.
Route – A creative idea that is presented to a client, often in a pitch setting, the route is often presented in a number of executions, a press ad, an outdoor advert and so on.
Scamp - Usually a sketch of an idea, ultimately an unfinished drawing. When the drawings are finished it may become a route (see Route).
Search - Paying Google for promoted advertisements to appear.
Sense Check - Checking something makes sense. Simple.
Skeleton - An unfinished presentation, in this form it hasn't been 'fleshed-out' yet (see Flesh-Out)
The Line (Above The Line/Below The Line/Through The Line) – I have heard two interpretations of what ‘The Line’ actually is:
1. The Line is where budgets are split on a balance sheet, ‘Above the Line’ represents traditional media such as Television, Press, Billboard. ‘Below the Line’ represents brochures, store/showroom activities, direct mail (spam).
2. The nicer description I have heard is that ‘The Line’ is consciousness. ‘Above the Line’ represents things we notice, a television advert, a press advert and below the line, the human subconscious, would be advertising such as PR, Product Placement, Brochures, less obvious advertising.
Through The Line refers to an advertising campaign that features work that is ‘Above The Line’ and ‘Below The Line’.
Thoughtstarters - A disorganised meeting or 'session'. Where ideas can be 'thrown about'.
Timesheet (agency standard/creative development) - A place on a Timesheet to put long lunches or games of pool/ table football.
Tissue Meeting - I have heard a number of different meanings for this. The best explanation is: "a lot of wank is spoken about so you need a tissue". It is meeting where the agency sucks up to a potential client as much as possible, "oh we love you more etc etc etc".