Shutterstock war image

Is it time to demilitarise branding?

For too long, creative agencies have turned to the language of war to describe the business of branding. Here, Neil Whitfield of Reed Words issues a plea for peace

“War. (Huh! Good God, y’all.) What is it good for?”

Marketing bollocks, apparently. If you ever want to know how inflated an opinion the commercial creative industry has of itself, look no further than the language we use. Starting at the top with the Chief Creative Officer, overseeing their troops. Talking about launches, territories, targets, guerilla campaigns and killer apps. Writing bullets about deployment and engagement. At one agency I worked for, we had a war room set aside just for apple juice.

A war room. For apple juice. The absurdity of it brings to mind Peter Sellers ranting about the doomsday machine and precious bodily fluids.

And, to parachute someone else into this without any heads up whatsoever, at a recent conference a speaker shared a quote from his wife which went something like this: “Bravery? Firemen get to talk about bravery. You sell cheese.” So I’m not alone in this.