“Just Sayin’…” by Doug deGrood

By The Minneapolis Egotist / /

Observations from a mostly retired but still fully functioning advertising mind

This latest missive falls under the category of “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you,” because it involves a beloved one-time employer of mine, who shall remain nameless.

Below is their recent job posting for an art director:

The person in this role must be able to concept and create visual assets for social posts.

This job moves at the speed of social. It is essential for this art director to stay up-to-speed on trends and action on them quickly.

Duties include capturing content, designing for real-time moments/trends, creating evergreen content, proactive concepting, and ideating against activation opportunities.

So, let’s break down this buzzword bonanza. First, I’m surprised they still use the title Art Director to describe this role, which has all the romantic allure of a data input job. Although, the ad starts out sensibly enough—they’re basically looking for a social media art director, kind of a junior role, so more fry cook than chef. Okay, got it.

“This job moves at the speed of social.”  Yeah, yeah… “…essential…to stay up-to-speed on trends… (note to the copywriter, this should not be hyphenated)…and action on them quickly.” Wait, action on them?… Do you mean, act on them? This is symptomatic of the literary disease I call “noun-verbing”—the abominable practice of using nouns as verbs. How did this become a thing? And who thought they were entitled to subvert the rules of grammar for no good reason?  “Change the way you pizza.” “Here’s to those who Wisconsin.” “This is how you Sonic.” Need I go on? Knock it off, people. This is not how you grammar! It’s a slippery slope that leads to our language becoming bastardized to the point where only a handful of English Lit flunkies understand it.

What comes next is like a junk drawer of marketing tasks: “…capturing content,” Ya know, because originality takes too much time and costs too much money. “…designing for real-time moments/trends…” Not sure what that means other than maybe coming up with timely ideas? I’m all for that. We used to call that Always Thinking. “…proactive concepting…” Huh? Isn’t the idea of advertising to be proactive?  “…ideating against activation opportunities…” Okay, now you’re just showing off! (For giggles, read that out loud in your best robot voice. Good times.)

Ugh. Listen, I get it, I really do. I understand that being an art director today involves certain activities that didn’t exist a generation ago and you need to ensure some level of experience and competency. But can’t you express it with more humanity, less jargon? Wouldn’t it sound more enticing, make your company sound way cooler if you had advertised this instead?:

WANTED. Junior Art Director capable of creating, designing and curating original, thought-provoking ads, videos, posts, etc. for a range of online uses—including targeted advertising and any and all social channels. Candidate must be able to concept their way out of a paper bag and work their butt off, because you never know when an advertising opportunity will arise in today’s always-on world.

Just sayin’…


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