I studied Philosophy at university. Well, in theory I did. Like many students I was more interested in going to discos and eating kebabs, so I only really got around to seriously looking at Philosophy in my last term, which was probably a little late.

Nevertheless, occasionally I observe something in advertising that dredges up a Philosophical memory.

Last week I was wondering... are many of the disagreements that we have with Clients, and among ourselves within an Agency, real disagreements, or are they just disagreements about language?

The splendid fellow with the pipe you see above is Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), one of the founders of the Analytic School of philosophy, who believed that most philosophical problems aren't really moral disagreements or religious disputes or whatever, just disagreements about language.

He argued that if we could just be super-clear in our use of language, the problems would go away.

I reckon that's a cool tip we should try to adopt in advertising. I mean, so many problems arise because you show someone some ideas, but what they wanted was what you call strategies (although they call them ideas). Or you ask someone for ways-in, and they come back with scripts, which is what ways-in means to them, although you meant something else.

So, can we not just agree upfront what we all mean by terms like 'idea', 'strategy', 'thought', 'execution', 'territory', 'way in', and 'platform'? 

Then we'll hopefully spend less time floundering around like a fish in an empty bathtub.

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