Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Raise Your Hand if You're Sick of the "Revolutionary"

The topic of industry jargon was brought to my attention recently, and the multitude of bogus terms that exist in the industry. For instance, there’s "digital zoom", which decribes nothing more than the ability to magnify a captured image on a digital camera’s LCD.

This got me to thinking about a related subject, and my least favourite, and probably the most over-used, marketing term in the industry: "revolutionary". I don’t know about you, but whenever I see this word in a press release, advertisement, or other marketing materials, my eyes roll so far back into my head that I fear I may never see them again. Not to knock those who use the word: perhaps there’s a study out there that proves seeing words like revolutionary attracts attention and stimulates some sort of brain function, piquing a reader’s interest. But to me, there is no industry term more bogus than this one.

The textbook definition for revolutionary is a "significant change that occurs in a short period of time." Of course this depends on how you interpret both a "significant change" and a "short period of time". Another definition states: "markedly new or introducing radical change." That said, if one, minute improvement to a product is made, should it be deemed "revolutionary"?

In my eyes, the computer was revolutionary. The Internet was revolutionary. The flat-panel TV was revolutionary. Heck, even the iPod has been revolutionary. These products have significantly changed the face of the industry, the way we communicate, interact, and the way content is distributed and consumed. But a new MP3 player that's 50% smaller than its predecessor: how is this revolutionary?

Right up there with revolutionary on my list is "unique". If everyone claims to be different by following the trends of the rest of the industry, how is this "unique"?

The solution to this problem: let's completely rid ourselves of these extraneous words, pull out the good ol' dictionary, and find some new adjectives to promote products and technologies.

As an aside, if you can think of other bogus industry terms, please feel free to comment here and out them once and for all!


Anonymous said...

Why use revolutionary when you could use Ground-breaking, earth-shattering, new, innovative, no wait how about my product is a new innovation? Classic!!

I think if I saw a story on the earth-sharreting 50% smaller MP3 Player I'd buy it. Then I'd tel all my friends it's revolutionary!

Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your very humorous comment. Another of our favourites here in the office is "new and improved". How can a product be both? If it's new, than no other has preceded it. If it's improved, then it represents a more advanced version of one that came before it. It has to be one or the other!