Investigating 'globish'

Gloria Gibbons
Ogilvy CommonHealth

The drive to make adverts understandable around the world by using a reduced palette of words and images is diluting the message, so a brand champion is needed to maintain the spark

Are we all turning 'Globish'? And doing this at the expense of our brands? When some of the trends in international brand marketing are considered, I fear we are. And my mission here is to get your support to change this.

Globish, for those who have not come across the term, is the English language in 1,500 key words. It was developed by non-English natives, led by a Frenchman called Jean-Paul Nerriere, to help make international business communications more effective, in a climate where global business teams increasingly comprise non-English natives and a billion people around the world need a consistent language to conduct effective commercial transactions. The argument is that the more English becomes an international language, the more it will move away from Anglo-Saxon ownership. We are experiencing 'language trickle-down' and the limitations of 1,500 words (rather than the full 260,000 of the English language) can actually be useful in aiding communication and understanding, rather than inhibiting it. There is even a Globish Text Scanner that judges whether text passes the Globish test. Simplicity to aid understanding. Compelling stuff.