Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Marketing Gibberish

     This isn't exactly a normal topic of conversation for me, mostly because I do everything (that's not inconvenient) in my power to avoid marketing of all kinds. So, if this is your area of expertise and I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about, forgive me. I do not live in your world.

     A quote from Verizon's chief executive was brought to my attention on Twitter, thus:

     That first sentence isn't too bad, although I think by "a global multiscreen network platform," McAdam just means "the Internet," but what the hell do I know?

     It's the second sentence that is the reason for this post. In case you can't read it:

"This acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience."

     Yep. That's gibberish. Well, OK, it makes a bit of sense if you look at it long enough, but it isn't exactly clear. So, in case your head is spinning, let's rip it apart piece by piece and see what he's saying.

     This sentence is actually a basic Subject-Verb-Object construct, with the simple sentence being "Acquisition supports strategy." All the prepositional [and infinitive] phrases tacked onto the end seem to modify the object, "strategy." Working our way down the sentence, we find the first prepositional infinitive phrase answers the question "What is the strategy?" The strategy is "to provide a cross-screen connection." Never mind that that's not a "strategy," but rather a "goal."

     McAdam doesn't bother to answer most human beings' next question, which is "What's a cross-screen connection?" but I think that's just another strange way to say "the Internet." Instead, he answers the question "To whom does this strategy provide a connection?" The connection is "for consumers, creators and advertisers."

     Now, this last prepositional infinitive phrase really bothers me. I think this is where all sense in the sentence falls apart, mostly because he's not saying what I think he wants to be saying. The way it's worded, McAdam seems to be saying that it is the "consumers, creators and advertisers" who will be "deliver[ing] that premium customer experience," which doesn't make sense. Verizon's customers aren't the ones who will be delivering any kind of customer experience. Verizon is the one doing the delivering. (I also hate his use of the word "that" here, but people will insist on talking that way and there's not much I can do about it.) I think he really wanted to say "in order to deliver...," thus drawing that phrase outside the realm of the previous one, connecting it back to the simple sentence.

Here, I fixed it:
"This acquisition supports our [goal] [to connect people over the Internet] in order to deliver [a] premium customer experience."

You're welcome.

UPDATE: I sincerely apologize. Two of those phrases are NOT prepositional phrases, they are infinitive phrases. Specifically, "to provide..." and "to deliver..." Obviously, in my haste, I saw the word "to" and thought "well, that's a preposition sometimes, so that must be a prepositional phrase." Ugh. My point still stands, though. This is a poorly-worded sentence.

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