Let’s Get Phygital



So reads the bold greeting on the corporate website of Momentum Worldwide.

The intent of this marketing agency’s declaration, I’m guessing, is to position the firm’s talents in helping its clients understand and effectively synthesize “physical” and “digital” media. 

No question that’s a valuable asset for a marketing agency these days. But the fabrication of a ridiculously clunky word to express it, is laughable (at best).

I’m not sure I know anyone who wants to embrace a “phygital future” – with or without Momentum.

Nevertheless, the agency has launched a phygital blog, a phygital YouTube channel, and of course, has applied for a phygital trademark to prevent any phygital thieves from pilfering the term. After all, Momentum “has been phygital since 1987” and “is the first and only marketing agency for the Phygital™ world.Touché.

I wish this amusing scenario were an isolated example of marketers run amok, but it seems to be part of a larger trend of creative agencies mashing up two real words into a single — often ludicrous — made-up word.

Cohn & Wolfe likes to call itself “bigtique” (meaning, I suppose, that the firm embodies both the creativity of a boutique agency and the depth of a global powerhouse). I wonder what’s wrong with just stating that fact without resorting to gimmicky word play.

It was the intersection of “Traditional and “Digital” that spawned Tradigital Communications, a firm that “helps companies solve the internet marketing puzzle.” I’m betting their top name choice was Phygital Communications, but it was already taken.

And, a China-based marketing communications consultancy has capitalized on all the “glocal” hoopla with the creation of Glocal Strategy. Oh, how I pity the poor receptionist… 

English has more than a million words, but apparently, we’ve exhausted all effective combinations and must create unique amalgamations to illuminate our creative brilliance.

Seems like blatant abuse of a living language to me. 

In fact, it’s positively absurdiculous





There’s Magic in the Mashup

Michael Jackson, meet Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. You’re going to make beautiful music together – whether you like it or not.

I am a huge fan of the musical mash-up (a.k.a. “forced duet”). I’m particularly drawn to the blending of artists from completely different generations and genres. These seemingly ridiculous pairings are the ones that can generate the most magic.

That’s true outside the musical realm as well. Innovation springs from the intersection of disparate stuff. A familiar example is Cirque du Soleil, a mashup of the circus and the theater that has spawned a completely new artistic category.

Inspiring as Cirque is, the most exciting mashup potential resides in odd collaborations that lead to solutions for the most pressing of human problems. Cures for diseases. Environmental fixes. An end to poverty.

A recent pairing of two competing cancer drugs led to a 100 percent response rate. Just imagine what innovations could arise if we continue breaking down the (manmade) barriers to stretch our minds – and our humanity.

Mash it up, people!