Favoured by advertising execs and business leaders alike, buzzwords are as synonymous with the company boardroom as stale muffins and cold coffee. Each and every year, a new slew of these haplessly uninspiring word jams find their way into offices around the world, where they’re bandied about with reckless abandon by all and sundry in their attempts to be ‘in the know’. Yes, I just used one (from the 2014 Fall line).

Like fashion, buzz words come and go, dictated by trends, technology and perhaps a clandestine board of frustrated wordsmiths who can think of nothing better to do. Use a buzzword while it’s hot and happening and you’ll be the envy of peers and clients, but take a stab at an outdated phrase and you run the risk of rendering your career obsolete.

Such is the power of buzzwords, despite the fact that they mean very little, and tend to suggest that the user thereof is simply unable to construct a sentence in its entirety.

So what are this season’s hottest go-to phrases and how can you use them to your benefit? We’ve broken down some of this year’s most heavily overused buzzwords so you too can fling them about and incur wild admiration from your peers.


This season, it’s very on-trend to be disruptive. Would a word like innovative or ground-breaking work just as well? You bet, but would it sound as epically cool? Doubtful. Essentially, ‘disruptive’ refers to a form of unchartered marketing tactic designed to shake things up and get noticed. Hmmm, hasn’t this been the objective of advertisers since the Mad Men era? Nonetheless, we’ll give this buzzword kudos for its ambition, and for steering us away from ‘the next big thing’. Buzz rating: 7/10

Deep dive

Ah the deep dive – agency speak for conducting an in-depth review of something (read: assigning a lowly intern or junior to days of Google hell). Now this is usually a phrase whipped out in the presence of a client when trying to justify shoddy work, the implication being that the post-dive results will be far more thorough somehow. Don’t bet on it. Buzz rating: 6/10

Take it offline

When ‘settle down and shut the f*&$ up’ seems unbecoming, high-level ad execs tend to suggest ‘taking things offline’. This tends to happen in meeting scenarios when someone (there’s always one) decides to yap on incessantly about something other than the topic at hand. As a gentle way to coax them off the conversational bandwagon, ‘let’s take this offline’ is a winner phrase that’s less likely to enrage the HR department than other, more colourful alternatives. Buzz rating: 9/10