A Way With Words

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There are buzzwords and there are great words. And sometimes, marketers turn great words into trash.

For example, Premium used to be a compelling word bound for potential greatness. The petrol industry drove the awareness of premium gasoline in the 80's to denote a better grade. Unfortunately, marketers in the food industry have driven premium, artisan, and specialty into the ground. If you feel that you have to put premium or World Classas a descriptor of your confections, it's mute. (And, by the way, World Class was never a great term.)

Often words are overused. Such is the case with Bespoke - which should be difined as "made-to-order" goods. Special edition products and custom items are not bespoke unless they are made by hand for a specific client/user. The same bespoke logic applies to Couture, which comes from the term haute couture, meaning exclusive custom-fitted clothing made-to-order for private clients with one or more fittings. Track suits with catch phrases on the backside are NEVER couture, regardless of the name brand.

The latest death of a great word came yesterday via our inbox. A dedicated email advertising a "curated prize package" of tampons. No joke.

We've long been fans of Curate as an additive to temporary installations. The word, stemming from the term Curator, had become a term that brands and collaborators used to communicate a link between cultural heritage and consumerism in a post-recession environment. For us, curating demanded that the job skills of the owner, manager or buyer had evolved beyond seasonality with unique offerings that held greater meaning, research, and care than the standard quo.

It's unfortunate that marketers thought otherwise because curating tampons is beyond gross.