13 Bullshit Terms Created By the Bullshit Advertising Industry By Inelegantly Smashing Other Words Together

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13 Bullshit Terms Created By the Bullshit Advertising Industry By Inelegantly Smashing Other Words Together

The world of marketing is obsessed with finding new ways to communicate the same message: buy our shit. Every time they feel like customers are getting smarter, some highly-paid marketing executives come up with a new way of presenting a sales pitch, pat themselves on the back for reinventing the world of communication and order another pound of cocaine.

More often than not, all that’s really going on is taking two words, shoving them together and making them into a new, awkward word, generally a word with at least one syllable more than it seems like it should have. 

These are called portmanteau words. Good ones — brunch, spork, even internet (from “international” and “network”) — enter the public consciousness and become part of life, while brutally terrible ones barfed from the empty minds of marketing people are, almost always, unwieldy and infuriating. The thought process seems to be that a five-syllable neologism will somehow magically make it all more important than, “Please buy our shit.”

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Infomercial: Like a TV Show But Bad​​

A mixture of “information” and “commercial,” and the start of the whole thing, infomercials first raised their grotesque heads in 1949 as a way of making an extra-long ad feel somehow like something you were watching out of choice. (Source)

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Advertorial: Like an Article But Terrible​​

Combining “advertisement” and “editorial,” an advertorial is a feature of print titles that blurs the lines between content and ads, so you think you’re reading an article but are actually reading a paid-for argument for buying something specific. (Source)

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Edutainment: Like Entertainment But Worse​​

Coined by Walt Disney in 1954 as a way of describing kids’ documentaries with as much of a focus on fun as facts, edutainment is a ghastly word for what pretty much most good stuff is. (Source)

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Advertainment: Those Products Don’t Place Themselves​​

Tricky to say and only coined in 1999, advertainment (“advertising” and “entertainment”) goes back to the early TV days when shows had sponsors’ names in the title, like the Colgate Comedy Hour. Now it’s all product placement and similar awfulness. (Source)

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Marchitecture: Unsayable, Unreadable, Simply terrible​​

 

A borderline-unreadable term combining “marketing” and “architecture,” marchitecture refers to the materials that explain how a product works in a simplified, marketing-friendly way that investors or the dimwitted public — that’s you! — can wrap their silly little heads around. (Source)

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Masstige: Looks Enough Like ‘Massage’ to Be Distracting​​

A melding of “mass” and “prestige,” masstige was coined in the 1990s to describe movements made by upmarket brands to make more affordable stuff while maintaining their prestige and aspirational-ness and all that shit. (Source)

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Prosumer: You, Too, Can Pay to Work!​​

When someone is both a producer and consumer — like they’re buying stuff in order to make it into something else and sell it on — they become a prosumer, doing what one MIT paper calls “new forms of exploitation through unpaid work gamified as fun.” Sinister! (Source)

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Advertecture: So You Can Monetize Every Surface​​

A word that makes you sound like you can’t talk, this absolutely fuck-ugly combination of “advertising” and “architecture” refers to designing structures with ad display space in mind. Rather than dumb concerns like safety, aesthetics or functionality, you know? (Source)

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Wantrepreneur: The Modern Way of Saying ‘Shitty Businessman’

 

You can absolutely feel how clever the person who came up with this must have felt, combining “want” and “entrepreneur” in a way that sounds better out loud than it looks written down. (Source)

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Fictomercial: Like Literature But Shitty — Shiterature!​​

Another one that sounds like you’re talking wrong, this artless combo of “fiction” and “commercial” involves book-length works with heavy branding, like Fay Weldon’s 2000 novel The Bulgari Connection, in which characters frequently mention how much they love that brand. (Source)

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Documercial: Same Terrible Crap, New Terrible Name​​

A documercial (“documentary” and “commercial”) is the same as an infomercial, but nobody who makes them will admit that — they’re all about having a cooler, more modern aesthetic than that we associate with infomercials, but they’re the same fuckin’ thing. (Source)

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Brandvertising: Absolutely Nothing​​

Again, marketing people would claim brandvertising (made of “brand” and “advertising”) is different to old-school advertising, as it pushes the brand itself rather than a product. But it’s the same, it’s the same, it’s the motherfucking same, it’s all terrible, everyone sucks. (Source)

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Innovention: Ironically, Incredibly Uninnoventive​​

Effortlessly combining “innovation” and “invention,” two words with similar enough meanings as to render the whole endeavor pointless, a much better piece of innovention would be coming up with a word that didn’t suck so bad. (Source)

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