Jargon: Workplace Wackaging
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Wackaging. What a wonderful term. Coined in the wake of 'cute' copy parlayed by the likes of Ben and Jerry's, Innocent smoothies, and Oatly, wackaging, or wacky packaging, has exploded since the early noughties, when someone decided we'd all had quite enough of the boring 'buy me' spiel that accompanied most products, thankyouverymuch.
"DECLARATION OF MACRONUTRITIONAL INDEPENDENCE."
"2 pressed apples, ½ a mashed banana, 9 pressed white grapes, some squeezed cucumber, a dash of matcha green tea infusion, a squeeze of lime juice..."
"Oioi lads let's get in the calcium, fella, ooooarrrrrr!! Sipping on your supersets HOOSH!!"
So I might have made the last one up, but I feel the point stands. In my head, it's for a milkshake aimed at gym bros (inspiring, isn't it? You can hire me, you know.)
No one is surprised anymore to find that their Tetrapak is semi-sentient, or that their crisps would quite like to take them out on a date. Don't say yes to that, you'll be home alone before 9 o'clock, still hungry, but covered in crumbs.
What has slid under the radar, unnoticed and unchecked, is that jargon is also, at its core, wackaging.
We've slung jargon around the workplace for decades, asking people to 'sanity check' emails before we discuss how best to 'leverage' the 'rightsizing' opportunity that's presented itself as we fire scores of people.
We uplink, link up, square circles, punch puppies, and add omni to channels, in a way that sounds like the cinema will be on the telly, but not really.
Jargon is touching base, tiger teams, grinding at the coalface (really?), scalable (really), email 'hygiene', and (Mother of God) 'opening the kimono'.
If wackaging bastardises decent copy for the sake of shrouding something in enough cuteness, mystery, or bemusement that it might drive sales, then jargon is exactly the same thing.
It fuddles the mind and obscures the point. It makes you progressively less intelligent. It can irritate the people you're trying to impress. It can smack of a lack of confidence - and fundamentally, it makes you sound like a nonce.
I have a solution. Much like the beloved swear jar, I'm putting my vote in for "Jar-gone" ™. Every time you utter a jargon term, stick in a quid. Just think of all the chirpy smoothies you'll be able to buy with the proceeds.