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Has 'Social Media' Gone Stale?
The Creative Group Survey Reveals the Most Overused Catchphrases Among Advertising and Marketing Professionals

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- "Social media" isn't just a trend taking the world by storm; it's also the term advertising and marketing executives ranked as the most annoying industry buzzword in a survey by The Creative Group. Also high on the list: "synergy" and "ROI," which rankled respondents in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

The national study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "In your opinion, what is the most annoying or overused buzzword in the creative/marketing industry today?" The top-ranked responses include:

  1. "Social media/social networking"
  2. "Synergy"
  3. "Free"
  4. "Innovative/innovation"
  5. "ROI/return on investment"
  6. "Extra value/value added"
  7. "Model(s)"
  8. "Telemarketing"
  9. "Social media expert"
  10. "Resolve"
  11. "Moving forward"
  12. "Branding"
  13. "Multitasking"
  14. "Going green"
  15. "Proactive"
  16. "Think out of the box"
  17. "Culture change"
  18. "End of the day"
  19. "Interactive"
  20. "24/7"
  21. "Integrated/integration"
  22. "Viral"
  23. "The big idea"
  24. "Leverage"
  25. "Unique"

"Certain terminology has become firmly ingrained in the way advertising and marketing professionals think and speak, and often helps colleagues communicate ideas more quickly," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "But when professionals need to grab attention or have an important message to deliver, excessive use of buzzwords can cause people to lose interest and tune out."

The Creative Group offers four tips for eliminating jargon in your communications:

  1. Translate your thoughts. It's typical to think in the lingo you use every day. But when putting your ideas to paper or in an e-mail, take the time to explain the concepts in terms that your audience will easily understand.
  2. Edit, edit, edit. Many buzzwords are unnecessary. Think carefully: Does a phrase like "at the end of the day" really add to what you're trying to say? Probably not.
  3. Break bad habits. We all rely on certain phrases when we speak. If the ones you gravitate toward are on the list of annoying buzzwords, think of alternatives that convey the same meaning.
  4. Show instead of tell. Rather than relying on buzzwords, use concrete examples to convey your thoughts. For instance, instead of discussing your fully "integrated" marketing strategy for a product rollout, describe the various elements and how they work together.

About the Survey
The national study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 500 telephone interviews -- approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

About The Creative Group
The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine, can be found at

SOURCE The Creative Group