Kill the Buzz! Now!

I clicked on the headline link because it looked interesting.

Then my jaw dropped, 12 inches per paragraph, until I had to pick it up off the floor.

It couldn’t be. A PR gift! The most perfect press release illustrating Wordslaughter, 1st degree. The most astonishing pile-up of incomprehensible buzz-words and meaningless jargon ever assembled in one place! Surely it was a joke, a parody?

Nope. It’s for real – read it for yourself.

Here is a sample of the blizzard of words, phrases, mantras, and business pixie-dust concepts contained in this inspired document:

    …a framework for pharmaceutical companies to develop a new value proposition for sales into medical group practices…the approach positions a pharmaceutical component as the keystone to an entire ecosystem of businesses marketing to physicians…Commercial models are designed and in turn “optimized” to promotional response curves…commodity inputs…has reached its productivity frontier…Opportunity space for value innovation…intimacy of interactions in the business ecosystem…We are unique with a framework to help clients innovate, differentiate their strategies, and shape new ideas at a system level.

But wait…there’s more!

The website copy was written with the same attention to jargon detail. If you thought the above phrases are parody-worthy, just head on over to the on-line mothership and try to grasp the 30-second elevator speech. Or, better yet, try to grasp anything.

    The concept is a forward-thinking approach to synchronize action in a complex environment and build new knowledge to improve decision making. It looks at the whole of a marketing game with new planning, sense-making, and decision-making strategies.

Marketing and PR should not be done by philosophers and engineers. Because the end result is not promotion, but self-generated spoof!

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

40 Responses to Kill the Buzz! Now!

  1. This looks like if the company has a p.r. person, he or she is too green or scared to stand up to the boss and say, “Tell it in English.”

    Jargon makes it hard for editors and the intended audience to understand. And it sounds so pretentious and boring.

  2. annhandley says:

    You knew I would love this.

    Or, I should say, you would surmise correctly within the context of my previous attempts at writing succinctly and coherently that I would find the concept around this post to be forward-thinking in its attempts to synchronize action around the decision-making processes.

    Unfortunately, this is not sense-making.

  3. Lewis Green says:


    I tried to read the copy but I was too busy cleaning the barf off my monitor.

  4. Ahh, welcome to my world. A land of buzz,a land of BS!

  5. msf says:

    you know what we need is to stretch the envelope in the new knowledge economy by fast tracking a result-driven cognisant interface which will empower our core business strategy out of the loop by engaging stake holders via blue sky thinking to galvanize our bottom line. oh, and more leveraging.

  6. gopalshenoy says:

    Wow!! I wonder if they read their own press releases to see if they understand it themselves. On their website, I loved the title of one of their publications “Strategically Thinking About the Subject of Strategy” – it says it all, does’nt it?

  7. What?

    Thanks for the chuckle, Geoff.

  8. Tracey says:

    This is definitely “out of the box” thinking. 😉

  9. Ike Pigott says:

    I re-wrote this, in the spirit of my Sub-Prime Primer for Kids (monosyllable):

    Blue Spoon has a tool to help sell pills.
    Blue Spoon has a form to help sell tools you might need if you get sick.
    You can get the tool if you click here.
    The Blue Spoon tool can help all who make you feel well when you are sick.

    Blue Spoon’s tool is a new way. Blue Spoon’s will not feed you a line of crap. Old school news on pills would make big claims. Blue Spoon tells it in an easy way.

    We can help you sell pills, for we only want to help you sell pills. We do not get lost with things that are not the sale of pills. That is why we are so fresh in the way we do things. We know: (i) how to sell drugs as just one part of the goal; and (ii) how to link the nice docs who need the pills to you who sells the pills. It is so nice to just sell pills, not crap. It makes us rich, and you rich, too.

  10. Derek says:

    This missive demonstrates an all-too-ubiquitous algorithm employed to proselytize an alleged cadre of value-adds proffered by Blue Spoon. By leveraging theoretical vertical-focused terminology to proselytize their cause, they attempt to didactically disintermediate their potential customers from incumbent sunk-cost embedded solutions deemed sub-optimal by Blue Spoon for addressing pervasive market paradigms.

    I think the two best bits of the whole thing, however, are these consecutive sentences from paragraphs two and three:

    “The traditional calculus becomes obsolete.

    Without strategy there is only drift.”

    I can almost hear the windchimes in the background…

  11. Rick says:

    You folks have to understand, this release was written for the real, pro-American pharmaceutical companies; not your liberal, left-coast, socialist, muslim, social media-elite pharmas.

    This release is excellent news for John McCain!

  12. Paul DeLuca says:

    Writing of this type requires high-level systematic layering of integrated linguistic ebullience coupled with an inherent affinity for encoded symbolic communication. It is the benchmark of short-range multimedia hierarchical concepts and advanced forward-connecting ideation in knowledge ecomony 2.0 thought formulation. Plus, it puts me to frickin’ sleep!

  13. Lloyd Lemons says:

    Philosophers and engineers get the most pleasure out of hearing/reading their own techno/biz babble.

  14. michaelashworth says:

    hahahahahahaha this is so the worst press release i have seen in a while.

    Do you think they have developed some automated PR software that is designed to fill blank space with meaningless jargon?

    My favourite phrase “the traditional calculus becomes obsolete” calculus? rofl

    I will say one thing though. When they claim that their agency is unique, I think they are spot on, for all the wrong reasons!

    Mike Ashworth
    Marketing Coach and Consultant
    Brighton and Hove, sussex, Uk

  15. @ike – I think you have just found a new career path!
    @Ann @msf – this may be a very close tie on jargon-laden commenting. Fortunately, neither is sense-making, which makes my decision-making more decisive, once I make it. The decision, that is. Plus, leveraging best practices.
    This is one of those classic cases where a company is so full of themselves, they cannot possibly have given a nano-thought to their target audience. (David and Geoff, do you think the PR world can come up with some Artificial Intelligence app that will automatically assign a rating [number of barf bags] to press releases, so Lewis and others don’t ruin computers?)

  16. Katie Morse says:

    Let’s parking lot this idea for now, and come back to it when we have value-adding ideas to share.

    ….brief pause…..

    In today’s results-driven but uncertain economic climate, it is in our rational self-interest to think outside of the box and address the movers and shakers within our sphere of influence. It is these thought leaders that can go the extra mile, be proactive and not reactive, and allow our results-driven organization to stretch the envelope.

  17. sdbarabas says:

    Ha! Wow, my head is spinning. That was quite an entertaining read, and sadly, painfully close to home 😐

  18. MissRhea says:

    If “poor strategy is expensive and bad strategy can be lethal.” They should know bad copy is DOA.

  19. michaelashworth says:

    Here is what the pressreleasegrader said about it

  20. Petri Darby says:

    My friends, they really should have tried thinking outside the box while remaining committed to their core business. If only they leveraged this innovative new Web 2.0 platform for solutions with true synergy, they would have achieved a measurable ROI. I’m confident that this is a best of breed program if viewed within a wholistic 360-degree framework. It will probably go viral if they create enough buzz through “strategic” and value-added social media campaigns, thereby realizing a new paradigm. This will be a win-win for everyone involved. They are truly an industry leader.

  21. Sonny Gill says:

    I wholeheartedly dispute your analysis of the proverbial ‘buzz-word’. Utilizing such visionary and innovative vocabulary gives us the prudence in providing our target demographic market with an informational analysis of our core business mission, vision and values.

  22. Wow! It’s “a new grammar of strategy.” Perhaps not surprisingly, they “apply ideas from complexity science.”

    It’s sublime. In fact, it’s transcendant: they say their “strategic thinking transcends industries or technological contexts.”

    I’d go so far as to say it transcends comprehension.

    I feel strangely giddy after reading it. I wonder why.

    Maybe it’s not meant to make sense, but instead has embedded, subliminal, neuro-linguistic messaging designed to render the reader overwhelmed but agreeable.

    Maybe that’s the real “new grammar of strategy?” Distract the conscious, reasoning mind and go straight for the subconscious.

    Resistance is futile. Parsing is futile. Must… have… blue spoon…

  23. Deb Kolaras says:

    For those that demand mission-critical objective and sales-driven results, this PR incorporates cutting-edge vernacular with “outside of the box thinking” designed to push the envelope and deliver innovative solutions to leverage your brand in the global marketplace and catapult your organization to the next level, then investors, influencers and early-adopters will beat a path to your door so your success is replicable and newsworthy and creates the next generation of entrepreneurial pioneers and atta-boys from your online community.

  24. Jane Chin says:

    I was a microbio major, took environmental microbiology to learn words like “ecosystems” and even I had to read the PR twice – very slowly – in order to understand what I was reading.

    And I still don’t get it.

    Is this because I didn’t major in marketing and took the course on Best Practices in Jargon-Driven Vernacular Discombobulation: An Industry Benchmarking Initiative?

  25. It sounds like something Palin would say in an interview.

  26. Dear Blue Spoon,

    I received your recent, highly targeted press release which underscores the ubiquitous nature of Blue Spoon’s marketing framework and value proposition. Your approach diminished the value of your offering with excessive verbosity, lack of clarity and insensitive focus to the target audience to which you intended to speak. Targeting the core message it to lay, non-clinical readers will be an important first step in taking your offering to the next level and securing bottom-line results. Moving forward, I recommend that you reassemble your team to create a new communications model supporting print and web-related efforts. The creation of a strawman diagram, that will help you break down the core components of your offering into easily understood concepts underscored by benefit-driven copy may be a useful exercise in which to engage. After key points have been broken down, re-framing your forward-thinking, groundbreaking and otherwise gigantic message into a more digestible, differentiated and results-driven message will be a mission-critical activity. To do this, it may be advisable to audit your organization to find an individual with extensive writing experience in the area of children’s books. This person should not have any pharmaceutical experience or big-five consulting experience, and should write all future press releases for Blue Spoon.

    On the bleeding edge,
    Live Path

  27. I don’t know whether to laugh at this or cry in remembrance of my days as a young writer—when my masters would take a perfectly concise release and “jazz it up” in the same manner.

  28. You guys are killing me. There’s no way to get any work done cracking up over these comments!

  29. michaelashworth says:

    hang on, we have created some buzz about them here (any talking about a company is better than none at all).

    Maybe this is what they intended all along!

  30. Chris Tammen says:

    I don’t know how to react to this, Steve. In this less than robust economy, marketers must be flexible while applying next generation tactics to their world class PR and marketing programs. The market leading systems often deployed and implemented by today’s well positioned cutting edge players are often not scalable and the industry standard is to have users implement user-friendly turnkey systems which optimally support mission critical objectives.

    Your example illustrates that breakthrough technologies should not only be extensible but should offer a level of interoperability typically found in best-of-breed solutions created by enterprise class companies. To maintain a leading position, why not think out of the paradigm for a change? Why don’t we try shifting the box outside? A fresh perspective allows us to right-shore our sustainable crowd sourcing efforts in a cross-functional and distributed marketing operation which can only be achieved by forward thinking marketers with a passion for igniting the fires of innovation within the progressive and dynamic marketing value chain.

  31. Jay Ehret says:

    I love the Concept menu bar options on the mothership page, especially: Modularity, Centers of Gravity and Concept Linkage

    Imagine the conversations that take place in the hallways of Blue Spoon:

    Jay: “Steve, how you feeling today?”
    Steve: “Well if you examine the granularity of my system-level tactical systems, and then benchmark that against the big picture, I think the bottom line is that my value proposition, at its core, is optimized to the point where my value-added contribution to the ecosystem is making a qualitative jump.”

  32. Eeech, gag me with a Blue Spoon.

  33. Ike Pigott says:

    Does no one else like small words?

  34. jptrenn says:

    Let’s hope that the authors work for the competition.

  35. jptrenn says:

    Or should I say:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

  36. Steve,

    This is brilliant! As I read the first paragraph I was thinking “bullsh*t bingo” and then as a I scroll down a little way, you’ve beaten me to it!

    It’s such a relief to learn that my communication skills are not the problem, it’s just that I don’t spend enough time studying the thesaurus to understand this.

    The number of times that I, when faced with a paragraph similar to your example, have had to read, re-read and then read again because my mind goes into automatic sleep mode because of the anaesthetic effect of such codswallop.

    Thanks for sharing!


  37. Steve, thanks for bringing this to my attention. 🙂

    Plain language communicates just fine, thank you. This company needs an outside editor to come in and rewrite. Their press releases and their Web site would look so much more professional — and be understandable — if they communicated in an unpretentious, direct manner.

    BTW, the comments here are great!

  38. Pingback: Heavyset » Blog Archive » This morning’s cup of tea - October 29, 2008

  39. annhandley says:

    All: I TOTALLY loved those of you who entered your completely opaque comments here. It warms my heart, because if you know how NOT to write…. well, you know how to write. And that’s cool.

    Steve and I picked two winners of the MarketingProfs t-shirts and he’ll be in touch with you two lucky winners. Or maybe he’ll announce them here. Up to him — after all, it’s HIS blog. But you know… you are ALL winners in my book! (insert cheesy smile here…..)

    Thanks again. This was fun — must look for more opps to offer MP Ts!

  40. John Singer says:

    All —

    I’m the founder of Blue Spoon Consulting. I stumbled upon this blog just today, and, after reading (or scanning) most of the posts, thought I’d add my nickel’s worth.

    Some of the comments are interesting, some are good for a giggle, but none offered anything original or useful. Which is a core issue in the public relations industry: innovation is static or nonexistent. And PR people keep moving further downstream and farther away from the seat they so covet at the executive table. Thinking differently may help reverse this trend.

    I do all the writing, marketing and design for Blue Spoon content. It works with what matters to me: behavior change in my market, new business, competitive advantage, differentiation, and getting published in all the right places. Sure, some of the thinking is rough clay, even to me at first, but that’s because it comes from a whole new way of looking at the world and shaping strategy.

    The reality is that the marketing services industry, to say nothing of the pharmaceutical industry (my target market), are both commoditized and collapsing with stunning velocity for lack of fresh ideas. This is the opportunity space — yep, I used a buzzword here, sorry — that Blue Spoon competes in.

    I get pitched by public relations and advertising agencies all the time; for the most part, I ignore them. Haven’t yet seen a sparkling insight or novel piece of communication from any of their content loaded with promises to improve my business. What’s most striking is how identical they all are — they say the same thing, the same way. In other words, they’ve been amazingly ineffective in getting me to pay attention or change my behavior.

    My e-mail address is: If you want to respond and/or chat some more, please feel free to write me directly. Be different, though, and challenge my thinking. I have a thing about communications people communicating in cliches and spinning from a thin understanding of the marketplace.

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