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FCB and D&AD help industry newcomers understand advertising jargon

The free AdVocab tool lists hundreds of words and phrases often heard in the industry

By Creative Salon

FCB London's free new tool helps newcomers to the industry understand the complex and technical language used in everyday work.

AdVocab, created in partnership with D&AD’s New Talent programmes; Shift and New Blood, is an encyclopedic tool listing hundreds of words and phrases often heard in the industry to break down the language barrier young people often face when starting out.

It was devised by FCB London art director Amy Bland and copywriter Sacha Burke. Both new to the world of advertising at the time the pandemic hit, Amy and Sacha were only just getting to grips with their new jobs when everyone started working from home.

With bigger questions to ask and more important things to learn, they felt silly asking their more experienced colleagues about advertising jargon.

The words and phrases on the site are constantly evolving with recent additions including “creative tissue,” “carousel,” and “bleed”, alongside definitions of each to help new starters make sense of the strange vernacular associated with day-to-day tasks in agencies. .

Each phrase is accompanied by an illustration by FCB London designer, Dante Attuoni, who was also new to advertising at the time and jumped at the opportunity to create a visual language which could help people decipher advertising’s cryptic vocabulary.

Speaking about the tool, Amy, Sacha, and Dante explained: “The industry has its own vocabulary that no one teaches you – you can study advertising but you’re not going to pick-up all of the language at Uni. Things move so fast and there are bigger questions than, ‘what does burn mean?’. We started making our own list of words and then realised how much it might help other people, so they don’t feel as silly as we did asking for a definition of something they may not understand.”

Following the launch, creatives across the industry will be encouraged to use AdVocab’s open design toolkit to submit any new word they’ve been confused by in the past, and design their own illustrations to then share on social media and ultimately, help grow the list of definitions.

The trio added that they hope AdVocab will be the catalyst to creating a community of people at all stages of their career who are actively learning how to better communicate with each other and engage with the industry at large.

Owen Lee, chief creative officer at FCB London added: “FCB’s aim is to make the transition into advertising as smooth and easy to understand as possible. The beauty of this tool is that it reduces the barrier to entry, or even the barrier once you’re inside, by revealing the meaning behind the jargon. The easily accessible website will be sure to empower young creatives, strategists, and account managers to produce their best work and feel confident whilst doing it.”

Through the partnership with D&AD, AdVocab will be an invaluable tool for D&AD Shift students in London, New York, Sydney, Berlin and Hamburg, thanks to the way the award-winning night school provides free industry-led tuition for self-taught creatives entering the advertising, design and creative industry from outside traditional pathways. 

Paul Drake, foundation director, D&AD commented: “Advertising is full of jargon which not only creates a barrier for people accessing our industry but can also lead to awkward onboarding experiences for new starters. This tool is an easy way for people to learn and understand advertising jargon, particularly for those not coming into the industry via traditional pathways.”

AdVocab website can be viewed here: https://www.advocab.com/

AdVocab is launching at D&AD’s New Blood Festival 3-4 July 2024 at London’s Protein Studios, sign up here to attend.


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