At [x] we [y]

26 Jun 2011 0

Tom Ewing, who blogs about music and market research and miscellaneous wisdom, twote the other day:

Pet hate of the day: the phraselet “That’s why at [company], we’ve…” in business blog posts. RIP interest.

I concur. Just when the blogger seems to be making an interesting point, it turns out to be an excuse to bang on about whatever their company is selling at the moment.

This pseudo-casual phrase has become a bit of a PR/advertising cliché – used to jump from general statements of truth (or worse, “values”) to saying what Company X is doing about it. A variation is “At [company], we [believe/care/understand/some other verb of conviction or empathy].

The use of language here is important too. They don’t just say “OmniCorp is…” or “OmniCorp has…” because that sounds way too much like OmniCorp is a big corporation or something. It’s not, of course. It’s more like a family – a cosy gathering of like-minded souls, brought together by their common belief that what the world needs is another phone network/supermarket/oil company or whatever. Saying “At OmniCorp we…” suggests that they all work in the same office, they all make rounds of tea for each other whenever they’re getting one for themselves – if OmniCorp were ever to go bust, they’d probably all have to move into a big house together because they’d miss each other so much.

It may be a measure of my increasing grumpiness that I find a phrase as simple as “at [x] we [y]” so irritating. But I do. It’s language for adverts – not blog posts. And preferably, neither.

While we’re on the subject (of values and grumpiness), here’s a video of Stewart Lee discussing “the values of the Carphone Warehouse”:

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