Surfing equals green in modern corporate language.
Doesn’t it feel, I don’t know…intrusive… to see the word “surf” used in advertising?
It’s as gross as a CFO throwing double shakas as he wobbles through the office making his requisite, self-centered small talk?
And, what copywriter wrote that Jeep garbage?
Actually, knowing the way it goes, that copywriter probably had a perfectly sane idea that got squashed and revised through countless “alignment” meetings by vice-presidents with finance degrees to the point where we’re at: Surfing sand. Surfing streets. Surfing conference calls. Surfing the open office. Surfing the gibberish I type on a sticky note so I appear productive (which is much more important than actually being productive in the open office).
There’s a Beckett-like absurdity to corporate garbage language, and laughing at the serious use of utterly stupid buzzwords was getting me through my Monday, until I saw a stack of trade magazines in the trash.
The magazine cover was clouds, sky, airplane. The usual for one of these trade rags that industry “leaders” swap at conferences without ever reading.
(The irony that what I ghostwrite for work goes in mags like these that are immediately thrown away is not lost on me; and I try to think of it like my own sand mandala.)
The headline caught me.
All caps, sans serif, like what Apple was using ten years ago: SURFING FOR EFFICIENCY.
The article informs its one reader (me) that “air-wake surfing for efficiency” shows “significant promise but substantial challenges,” leaping ahead optimistically with news that Airbus and Boeing tested how to save gas by flying planes in formation. The writer toots that, “Commercial aircraft would fly in extended formation, up to one nautical mile apart, on what the industry prefers to call ‘cooperative trajectories.’”
Despite the fact that “the physics of wake surfing are on a firm footing, there are many technical and operational questions still to be answered.”
And then there’s a good bit of the article devoted to pumping the brakes on air-wake surfing, specifically because “only the trail aircraft sees a fuel saving” so they’d need to work out “who gets preference.”
But that doesn’t really matter, because the article accomplishes its only point, which is to tick the “sustainability” box.
And it does so while co-opting the new corporate meaning that surfing equals green along the way.
Which leads me to wonder: What surf terms could be turned into buzzwords that office people use seriously?
Tell you what.
We’ll brainstorm on this messaging, leverage our collective learnings, maybe take the conversation offline, and circle back next week.