advertising dictionary

While we in the advertising industry endeavor to talk to your customers in their language, we speak to each other with a twisted, absurd vernacular. Here are some words and phrases that may give you pause when heard in casual speech.

Advertorial (n): An advertisement intended to look like a real article in a magazine. These can be identified by two main characteristics: (1) not looking like a real article in a magazine; (2) the word “ADVERTORIAL” plastered across the top of the ad.

Concept (v): Conceive. Generate a concept. (This is an example of changing the part of speech of a word for no apparent reason other than to sound important, failing, and sounding stupid.)

Copy (n): Words.

Copywriter (n): A person who writes copy.

Creative (n): Any member of the creative team, creative department, or creative whatever of an ad agency. Examples include copywriters, art directors, production managers, creative directors and production artists. The creativity of creatives is evident in their ability to creatively turn an adjective (creative) into a noun (creative), mainly to be able to tell their friends they work as creative creatives.

Creative brief (n): (1) The most important document in all of advertising. Outlines the scope of a project so everyone (client, account team, creative team) knows exactly what’s going on at all times. Written by the account team and approved by the client, this document can be worked from, worry-free, by the creative team. (2) The most useless document in all of advertising. Source of endless frustration and fighting between the client, account team and creative team. A hodge-podged mess that creates hostility between everyone within an agency and with the client.

Designer (n): A person who knows how to use InDesign.

Direct mail (n): Junk mail.

Misguided (adj): Completely incompetent.

Part-time writer (n): A person who never writes, unless that person is writing an ad he hired someone else to write.

Tri-fold (n): a brochure with two folds, obviously.