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More jar-gon please

Blue sky thinking

I found this small but brilliant campaign while trying to find alternative words to the jargon I see used all too often in the non-profit sector. I think we should be pushing to speak to communities and individuals in simple language that they can relate to, rather than overwhelming them with convoluted messaging.

Of course, those in the creative industry regularly complain about the meaningless jargon that gets used. As an experiment, North Carolina-based agency McKinney decided to see if it could go a week without using some of the worst industry buzzwords. Unsurprisingly, it discovered its business didn’t grind to a halt.

The concept was a simple one: money jars were installed around the office and in meeting rooms. Staffers had to donate a dollar or leave an IOU every time they used one of eight offending words and phrases such as ‘aligned’, ‘low-hanging fruit’, ‘socialize’ and ‘holistic’.

“We were thinking of ways to raise money for charity and decided to charge staffers every time they used jargon,” said McKinney associate creative director Meg Sewell, who formulated the idea with fellow creative director Jenny Nicholson. “In reality, we actually didn’t make that much money, because people really did stop using jargon”.

Now let’s ’social’ that key finding – oops, I think I owe £1!

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