Advertising agencies are strange (but wonderful) places. They’re filled with almost-hipsters and quirky wall decorations and Moleskin notebooks. It’s an awesome world to be in as a young person, but it can also be very confusing to newcomers because ad people have developed a whole new language. Seriously, the J-School should add a class called “Intro to Advertising Buzzwords” (it would be more useful to ad students than POLI 100 and 101… just sayin).*
The average intern spends at least 15 minutes a day wondering what certain words mean (that’s a statistic that I got from a reliable source). As I finish up my second internship at such an ad agency, I’ve compiled a list of all of the words I’ve had to learn during my time as an intern.
Normal-person definition: food for livestock (aka a word we never use)
Advertising definition: food-for-thought/starting point/material/I’m still not really sure but people say it a lot
Use it in a sentence? “Agency life is great fodder for my blog!” – Me Trying To Imitate The Smart-Sounding People Who Use The Word Fodder
Normal-person definition: a word that pretentious people use when they’re talking about jelly
Advertising definition: “to jam” is to work on something and see where it goes
Use it in a sentence? “If you could just jam on this project for the rest of the afternoon, that would be great.” – Advertising People Who Are Young And Hip
Normal-person definition: a wooden structure on the side of a house where one has summer parties, lounge chairs, and/or an American flag
Advertising definition: a PowerPoint (or KeyNote if you’re one of those)
Use it in a sentence? “Wait… a deck is just a fancy way of saying PowerPoint?” – Every Advertising Intern At Some Point During His Or Her First Week Of Work
Normal-person definition: intuitive understanding, an accurate perception of something
Advertising definition: the magic piece to the puzzle that will make a brand connect to consumers in an authentic way and probably win some awards in the meantime
Use it in a sentence? “I just love the insights in those Guinness ads. They just really resonate with me, ya know? I am made of more!” – Me When I Watch Guinness Ads And Still Don’t Buy Guinness
Normal-person definition: something you make in preschool that involves beads and dry pasta
Advertising definition: “to craft” is a fancy way of saying “to put something together”
Use it in a sentence? “I want to craft a really powerful story throughout this deck.” – A Person Building A Deck
Normal-person definition: WUT.
Advertising definition: as far as I can tell, it just means font.
Use it in a sentence? “I can’t be your friend if you keep using the Comic Sans typeface.” – Typeface Snobs
Normal-person definition: to throw a ball while standing atop a dirt mound
Advertising definition: a meeting in which an advertising team presents its hard work to a client (either to have its dreams come true or totally crushed)
Use it in a sentence? “I was at the office all weekend getting ready for this pitch.” – New Business People
Normal-person definition: to enter into an agreement with another person that signifies that you will soon be getting married; may involve diamond rings, tears, hidden photographers, and/or videos with Ed Sheeran songs in the background
Advertising definition: a way of measuring how successful something is based on how much people talk about it on social media
Use it in a sentence? “Let’s use The Dress phenomenon to drive consumer engagement with our brand!” – Every Brand Ever
Normal-person definition: that strange thing that some fraternities do because BROTHERS FOR LIFE
Advertising definition: This is where it gets complicated. A company is a brand, has a brand, and occasionally will rebrand itself. If you’re a good brand, you also have a brand personality. And brand recognition. And brand ambassadors.
Use it in a sentence? “This blog is for a class that’s teaching me how to brand myself.” – Me
*If my POLI 101 professor is reading this, don’t take my comment the wrong way… I LOVE local and state government… who doesn’t????