Thursday, June 3, 2010


Like them or hate them, they’re here to stay. At the end of the day, clichés are just a part of doing business, aren’t they, part of the landscape?

Well, yes and no.

Clichés are so entrenched in marketing communication that they are hard to pin down.

Ok I really have to stop this now.

My Granny thought that clichés were just plain lazy, like swearing.

Chris Pash thinks they’re fun.

Chris is director of content licensing at Dow Jones & Co Asia-Pacific. Among his many duties is the running of a kind of “cliché-ometer”. This digital marvel sifts the Dow Jones Factiva database, currently holding over 25,000 newspaper, magazine and online publications.

According to Chris, our old friend ‘at the end of the day’ is the current winner and has been used 21,000 times worldwide in the last three months. That’s a lot of wasted column inches.

Chris’ main focus is journalism. You can see an interview with him here:

But we in the wider marketing world are not guilt-free of the heavy use of clichés.

To test my claim I visited four advertising agency websites. I felt there was a certain sameness to a lot of the words used.

Agency 1 – Information rich, compelling strategic idea, engaging ideas.

Agency 2 – Integrated communications, committed to a holistic approach, strategic collaboration, consistent message across all touch points.

Agency 3 – Brand architecture, long-term customer relationships, strategic customer engagement programs, executing personal and engaging customer experiences.

It’s not a crime to trot out business clichés … unless what you sell is creativity, originality and ideas. It’s ironic that each website professes to an expertise in communication and connecting with consumers and yet, does so in such a hackneyed and interchangeable way.

They tell potential clients that this agency has no imagination.

I suspect with a list of the right buzz-words almost anyone could write copy for an agency website … and possibly win a few pitches.

If you have a creative advertising problem call Tony Richardson on (02) 9929 0588 or visit Tony Richardson Advertising or

You are welcome to reprint any AdNotes article on your website and in your e-newsletters for FREE. All I ask is that you attribute me, Tony Richardson and include a link to


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